Chapter

That Certain Feeling: 1924–1927

Philip Fuma

in Ira Gershwin

Published in print October 1997 | ISBN: 9780195115703
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853144 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195115703.003.0003
That Certain Feeling: 1924–1927

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The Jazz Age came to full-blown adolescence at 3pm on February 12, 1924, at New York's Aeolian Hall. Until the wail of Ross Gorman's clarinet glissando opened the premiere performance of Rhapsody in Blue, the afternoon's program had been a stuffy sequence of “jazzed”classics and “concertized jazz,” put together by Paul Whiteman, the self-anointed “King of Jazz.” Once George Gershwin strode to the piano to perform his Rhapsody, however, the program turned electric. Rhapsody in Blue captured the rhythmic vitality of New York at the height of the Roaring Twenties. By the end of that year George and Ira Gershwin had infused the same Jazz-Age spirit into musical comedy when Lady, Be Good!, their first successful musical, opened at the Liberty Theatre on December 1. In Lady, Be Good!, and a string of Jazz-Age musicals that followed in its wake, Ira Gershwin set that language—its terms like “crush” and “mush,” phrases such as “It's all bananas,” and even “'s wonderful” way of clipping syllables from words—to his brother's music.

Keywords: Ira Gershwin; George Gershwin; Rhapsody in Blue; Lady Be Good!; jazz age

Chapter.  6966 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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