This rare video of Gershwin playing piano is pure musical magic

3 July 2017, 16:28

George Gershwin - I Got Rhythm (1931)

Video courtesy of Edward Jablonski.

03:04

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Someone uncovered some rare footage of Gershwin killing a piano solo in 1930s New York, and it sounds unbelievable.

The rare performance was filmed at the 1931 opening of the New York Manhattan Theatre, and shows Gershwin dancing his hands over the keys in a special piece of footage, filmed from three different camera views.

The footage is surprisingly clear, and we love the insight it gives us into Gershwin’s playful onstage character.

‘I Got Rhythm’ had already been featured in two musicals prior to this performance: Treasure Girl in 1928, and Girl Crazy in 1930. But it wasn’t until Gene Kelly’s 1951 film An American in Paris that the song found international fame.

The music was written by George himself, who then gave the task of dreaming up the lyrics to his brother, Ira Gershwin. Ira said that the lyrics were “a bit more daring” than his usual compositions, as most of the lyrics don’t rhyme.

Perhaps thanks to its daring nature, the song has become a jazz standard, and the foundation for other popular jazz tunes.

Massive kudos to Jack Gibbons for uncovering this amazing footage!

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