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Jazz Guitar Books

New Arrangement Book, “Gershwin for Guitar”



This dynamic collection brings together 12 of Gershwin’s iconic songs arranged for solo classical guitar by the late John W. Duarte.

Intro by the late John W. Duarte: These tunes date from the days when, in the 1930s–1950s, I was an active exponent of lighter musics. We played them for dancing and we used them as bases for jazz improvisations. Most of those included in this volume were written for Broadway musicals (Summertime is from Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess), but they belong to an era in which the best popular songs were truly art-songs, in which imagination, inspiration and craftsmanship shaped both the music and the lyrics, an era in which Gershwin kept company with Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and others. Very many of those songs have proved their quality by surviving to the present day, a true definition of ‘classic’. Jazz of any kind has two essential ingredients: ‘blue’ notes and syncopation. Jazz music proper calls for inflections and rhythmic inequalities that cannot be accurately notated; it is something of a ‘foreign language’ to the academically reared musician. For this reason, I have not arranged these pieces as improvisations, but as settings that are tinged with the harmonies of popular music through the 1960s and the syncopations that ‘hallmark’ jazz. The latter may pose problems to the traditionally trained guitarist, not least when notes anticipate strong beats by a quaver (eighth note), but they belong in this music and you can’t make an omelet without breaking an egg! Play such difficult passages slowly, counting each bar in quavers (eighth notes), until you can feel the rhythms. 

Suitable for guitar players from intermediate to advanced levels.

  1. Embraceable You
  2. Fascinating Rhythm
  3. A Foggy Day
  4. How Long Has This Been Going On?
  5. Love is Here to Stay
  6. Love Walked In
  7. The Man I Love
  8. Nice Work If You Can Get It
  9. Someone to Watch Over Me
  10. Strike Up The Band
  11. Summertime
  12. They Can’t Take That Away From Me

To purchase Gershwin For Guitar. Digital downloads of selected song accompaniments arranged by John W. Duarte are also available.

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