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Interesting jazz notes and transcriptions for piano, double bass, drums and sax

summertime.jpg"Summertime" is the name of an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin. A popular jazz standard, the song is in the Aeolian mode.

Gershwin began composing the song in December 1933, attempting to create his own spiritual in the style of the African American folk music of the period. It is sung multiple times throughout Porgy and Bess, first by Clara in Act I as a lullaby and soon after as counterpoint to the craps game scene, in Act II in a reprise by Clara, and in Act III by Bess, singing to Clara's baby.


It is widely believed that "Summertime" vies with the Beatles' "Yesterday" as one of the most often covered songs in popular music, with an estimated 2,600 different versions recorded. However, a far greater number of recordings of the former exist: as of 20 September 2007 , an international group of collectors of recordings of Summertime known as "The Summertime Connection," knows of at least 20,415 public performances, of which 14,103 have been recorded. Of those, the group has 8,764 full recordings and about 1,100 samples and incomplete recordings in its collection.


Summertime was composed in English, but nowadays it has been sung in many languages (we mention at random one artist in the language). The Summertime Connection knows of performances in : Bulgarian (Slavi Trifonov), Catalan (The Mimisikous Band), Czech (Hana Hegerova), Dutch (Wieteke van Dort), Esperanto (Nicolin'), Estonian (Optimistid), Finnish (Topi Sorsakoski), French (Joe Dassin), Frisian (De Kast), German (Peter Kraus), Hohenloher (Annaweech), Italian (I Dalton), Japanese (The Dixie Saints), Lithuanian (Skamp), Maori (Wirimako Black), Papiamento (Tropical Taste), Polish (Petra Janu), Portuguese (Nara Leao), Russian (Oleg Skripka), Serbian (Basa), Spanish (Cubismo), Yiddish (Lee Colbert), Yugoslavian (Henda) and Zulu (Amanda Strydom). Kwartet Okazjonalny from Poland has performed a humorous tri-lingual version, underlining the stereotypes of the different languages.


The original song is an opera-aria, sung by a (mezzo-) soprano with a symphonic orchestra. The Summertime Connection has renditions in such different styles as ska, southamerican (all rhythms), rock, housemixes in various forms, all jazz styles from dixieland to bop and so called 'improvised music'. Every conceivable instrument has been used: from gardenhose (Noguru Hata on Dutch TV), cow horn (Bengt Jonsson) and singing saw (Matthew Beckman) to traditional Korean flute (Lee Sang Gang), theremin (Lydia Kavina), carillon (Piet van den Broek), xaphoon (Arthur Mary on June 4, 2007 in Budapest), hydraulophone (water-pipe-organ-flute) (the inventor of this instrument Steve Mann on June 24, 2007 on Loch Ness) and handbells (Raphsody). Very peculiar is the performance of Stone Jazz (a South Korean emsemble). They combine the haegm (korean violin); the piri (korean oboe) and the gayagm (korean harp) with a traditional jazz trio of piano, bass and drums. Every style and mode of singing has been recorded: from a capella via karaoke and doo-wop till big mixed choirs, but also a rendition in a swimming pool because the extra resonance was needed.