The quintessential signature sounds of Brian Wilson (co-founding member of the Beach Boys), elegantly combined with the timeless classic melodies of some of the most revered songs from George and Ira Gershwin. Brian Wil... more »son has re-recorded and re-imagined twelve classic songs from the Gershwin Brothers and collaborated on two new Wilson/Gershwin compositions. The Gershwin estate gave Wilson access to rare, unfinished pieces of music by George Gershwin, with which Brian crafted collaborative compositions unlike anything the world has heard with "The Like in I Love You" and "Nothing But Love". Wilson chose to record George and Ira Gershwin songs because he considers the late composers of classics like "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Summertime" as a critical influence on him.
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin was produced by Brian Wilson and mixed by Al Schmitt the 15-time GRAMMY® award winner (Michael Bublé, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Madonna)« less
The quintessential signature sounds of Brian Wilson (co-founding member of the Beach Boys), elegantly combined with the timeless classic melodies of some of the most revered songs from George and Ira Gershwin. Brian Wilson has re-recorded and re-imagined twelve classic songs from the Gershwin Brothers and collaborated on two new Wilson/Gershwin compositions. The Gershwin estate gave Wilson access to rare, unfinished pieces of music by George Gershwin, with which Brian crafted collaborative compositions unlike anything the world has heard with "The Like in I Love You" and "Nothing But Love". Wilson chose to record George and Ira Gershwin songs because he considers the late composers of classics like "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Summertime" as a critical influence on him.
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin was produced by Brian Wilson and mixed by Al Schmitt the 15-time GRAMMY® award winner (Michael Bublé, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Madonna)
"I would have to say this album is Brian Wilson's Nice 'n' Easy. It feels uncannily smooth and cool, like a perfect summer evening - and for all my wondering whether the blending of Wilson's California style of sunshine pop and Gershwin's Tin Pan Alley east coast sensibilities would prove an uneasy marriage melted away. It's been well documented that Brian has been a long time fan of Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" and how he wanted one day to do a vocal-only version of the concert staple, and here, bucket-list-like, Brian bows into the album with the fulfillment of that wish. Brian's love of these melodies, and hit suitability to them is a happy shock - although it shouldn't be - Gershwin-style songs fill Brian's oeuvre, although you'd have to be familiar with their respective canons to realize it: the soaring melodicism and melancholy of "Summertime" is echoed in the wistfulness of "Caroline, No"; the cheeky socio-double-entendres present in "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" is taken to its modern-day extreme in Brian's "Busy Doin' Nothin'"; and the resilient note found in "They Can't Take That Away From Me" can be found in "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times." But this album succeeds in more than sympathetic compatablility - Brian sounds completely immersed in these songs - he's never sounded this invested in his singing - not even in his earliest recordings - he interprets these songs in what sounds like deeply personal ways, alternately sly, wistful, and smiling - from the silky Bacharach-flavored bossa-nova found on "S' Wonderful" to the call-and-response party of "They Can't Take That Away From Me" to the Beach Boys bass-line groove found on "I Got Rhythm" - this album is absolutely wall-to-wall fantastic. As for the two Wilson/Gershin "collaborations" - "The Like In I Love You" and "Nothing But Love" - although they're not on par with the classic songs that surround them, they're wonderfully realized, and it's impossible to tell where Gershwin's contributions end and Brian's begin. For those who've witnessed the blossoming of Brian's soul since the completion of SMiLE, open your ears again - Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin is one of his all-time best."
Paul Baack | Bloomingdale, Illinois | 08/17/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are many great things about this album, but one of the best Brian Wilson doesn't treat these great American songs with piety it's clear that he loves and respects the Gershwin legacy, but he's not intimidated by it, and he's certainly not afraid to "reimagine" this material through the filter of his own sun-kissed, lysergic sensibilities.
Some highlights: "I Got Rhythm" sounds like a long-lost Beach Boys cut. "Someone to Watch over Me," with its sonic echoes of Wilson's classic "Caroline, no," joins the very top echelon of this Gershwin standard's multitudinous recordings (hello, Frank Sinatra!). "It Ain't Necessarily So" indicates that Brian listens to Tom Waits; he puts something of a snarl into the already acidic lyrics. The instrumental "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'" just puts a big grin on one's face, especially once that bass harmonica kicks in. And "The Like in I Love You," one of the album's two Wilson-completed Gershwin fragments shows Brian still at the top of his composing and arranging game -- he remains one of the best in American history.
My only quibble with the album is its brevity. Wilson leaves us wanting more, as any entertainer should, but I would like to have heard a more fully worked-out "Rhapsody in Blue," perhaps with him on the piano parts and his band singing his brilliantly-arranged (acapella on the album) choral part.
Brian Wilson fans are going to love this; George Gershwin fans are going to love this; aficionados of well-crafted pop music in general, and of the Great American Songbook in particular, are going to love this.
Album of the Year? A little too early to tell, perhaps, but..."
Jason Rosenfeld | Kinnelon, NJ | 08/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brian Wilson may have finally met his musical match -- not just in Gershwin, but his band. It's a great dynamic and you can tell that Brian Wilson owes a great deal of his creative renaissance to his supporting musicians. With his accomplishments, he could have simply "phoned in" this album and his fans would be grateful, but you can tell that a lot of love and hard work went into it.
The "Rhapsody In Blue" vocal arrangement reminded me of "Our Prayer/Gee." The comparisons ended there. Yes, there's definitely a STRONG "Beach Boys/Brian Wilson" flavor to the whole affair, but that's pretty much the point, isn't it?
I'd like to credit the production team with doing a great job recording Brian Wilson's voice, as well as Brian Wilson. He sounds older and wiser, but over his last few releases, he seems to have learned how to use his older and deeper voice better (with Smile, he was obviously singing songs that he intended for his younger self to sing with his brothers). Even the promo photo shows an older and wiser Brian Wilson, with grayer hair and wearing a (gasp!) suit -- thankfully no tie -- he's still too young at heart for that.
Anyway, this year was a tough year for the music world with the death of the likes of Alex Chilton. The next generation of musicians still needs to learn more from the masters and living legends. Thankfully, Brian Wilson is still making beautiful and inspired music."
Who's Brian Gershwin?
Michael Neiss | Princeton, NJ United States | 08/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A sobering and unexpected question from a co-worker when I mentioned the imminent release of this titanic pairing of recognized masters - hoping against hope that the potential downside and inflated expectations of "reimagining" such a well known and respected canon of Gershwin classics would be avoided. Well, generational amnesia not withstanding, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin is a really good (almost great) recording that builds-out on the strengths of Wilson's nonpareil gifts as an arranger and producer while deftly compensating for his understandably diminished vocal capacity.
Wilson's Gershwin is a beautiful, fully realized soundscape that deserves uninterrupted and repeated listening. What Wilson summons is an America before surfboards and Elvis when music was the province of melody, nuance and a full spectrum of emotions beyond anger. This is a gorgeous (and wonderfully flawed) record that may get a Grammy nod on sentimentality alone - but just might deserve it even if you have never heard of Brian Wilson or the Gershwin brothers.
Highly recommended. "
This is Brian Wilson at his best! The heart of Brian Wilson.
Brett | Philadelphia, PA | 08/18/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I have been a huge fan since I was 5. But that won't allow me to believe that everything Wilson puts out is Gold. Though I have to say, the new work, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin is the real deal! When I first heard that Wilson was going to tackle this project I was worried. He's my idol and I didn't want to see him fail. His voice, though coarsened since the mid 70's is in top form here. Wilson does George and Ira proud! I love this album so much it's on constant rotation in my living room. Even if you're not a big Gershwin fan but you've always loved the Beach Boys sound, this will turn you on to Gershwin!"