Personalities | George Gershwin | Twenties | Jazz & Blues

(Piano, composer, 1898–1937)

One of the most enduringly popular composers of the twentieth century, Gershwin composed such enduring melodies as ‘Summertime’, ‘Embraceable You’ and ‘Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off’. His tuneful songs with their rich harmonic progressions are ideal for improvisation and were popular with jazz musicians including Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Coleman Hawkins and Miles Davis.

A self-taught pianist, 15-year-old Gershwin was the youngest songwriter on Tin Pan Alley. He and his lyricist brother Ira scored their first big hit in 1919 with ‘Swanee’ for Al Jolson. From 1919–33 they produced a succession of musicals, including the first Pulitzer Prize-winning musical comedy, Of Thee I Sing (1931). In 1924, George wrote Rhapsody In Blue as a concerto for piano and the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. His success with this work led to the 1928 tone poem An American In Paris and his 1935 ‘folk opera’ Porgy and Bess. The Gershwins went to Hollywood in 1936 but George died of a brain tumour the following year. Ira continued to work as a lyricist until retiring in 1960.

Styles & Forms | Twenties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Edmond Hall | Twenties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...


Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.

Rock, A Life Story

Rock, A Life Story

The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers his life, music, art and movies, with a sweep of incredible photographs.