Brian Wilson, 'Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin' (Walt Disney)

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Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin
Critical Mass
Label: Walt Disney

by Stacey Anderson

The most brilliant Beach Boy has always cited "Rhapsody in Blue," American composer George Gershwin's prodigal 1924 meeting of jazz and classical, as his favorite song. Here at last, he takes it for a joyride; Wilson's cover is bright and romantic, anchored in rich harmonies and fluttering woodwinds. His weathered croon lends similar affection to other Gershwin standards, from a flamenco-tinged "?'S Wonderful" to a seamless surf-rock spin on "I Got Rhythm" to the previously unheard 1924 composition "The Like in I Love You," which features his sweetest symphonics since Smile. (Gershwin's estate bequeathed Wilson more than 100 unfinished songs for this project, and he completed two.) Wilson is clearly energized, and it's delightful to hear one virtuoso finally meet up with another.

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