The lyricists who formulated the American Songbook style in the 1920s and '30s--Irving Berlin, Dorothy Fields, Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, Cole Porter--invented a new native poetry drawn from a combination of sophisticated wordplay and unstudied, everyday parlance. Of these Ira Gershwin (1896-1983) was one of its greatest masters. He described his lyrics as “simple, colloquial, rhymed conversational lines”. These “simple” lines magically draw the listener in with their high level of craftsmanship and extreme wit.
George and Ira Gershwin's songwriting collaboration resulted in a body of work that included a seemingly endless string of hit musicals and songs cut short only by George's untimely death in 1937. Crushed by George’s untimely death, Ira did no writing for three years. But he then began a second career writing with many different composers including Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Aaron Copland, Arthur Schwartz, Harry Warren, Kay Swift and Burton Lane and proved anew that he was one of the great songwriters.
For this concert, Shirley Andress and friends pay tribute to Ira with George and Ira's later collaborators in grand style.