This is the last day of summer. It would be wrong to let the season get away without a proper sendoff. There are, of course, countless recorded versions of the George Gershwin song from Porgy & Bess that gave summer its own anthem. The recording unanimously chosen by the Rifftides staff is from a landmark album made in 1959. Arranger and conductor Bill Potts assembled 19 of the decade’s finest musicians to make The Jazz Soul of Porgy & Bess. They played in Webster Hall, an acoustic marvel in New York City. Jack Lewis produced, and Ray Hall engineered the album in perfect two-track stereo. There is no more joyous way to bid farewell to summer than with this masterly Potts arrangement of “Summertime.” The soloists are Harry Edison, trumpet; Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, tenor saxophone. The YouTube audio seems a bit low here. You may want to crank up your speaker volume.
The United Artists LP of The Jazz Soul of Porgy & Bess quickly sold out and became a collectors item. The album was reissued on CD a few years ago in a digipak with a booklet that reproduces the original gatefold LP cover, all of the photographs, and the liner notes by André Previn and Dom Cerulli. To substantiate the line in the introuction above about the “19 of the decade’s finest musicians,” here’s the list:
Trumpets—Charlie Shavers, Harry Edison, Bernie Glow, Art Farmer, Markie Markowitz. Trombones—Bob Brookmeyer, Frank Rehak, Earl Swope, Jimmy Cleveland, Rod Levitt. Saxophones— Phil Woods, Gene Quill, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Sol Schlinger. Rhythm section—Bill Evans, piano; Herbie Powell, guitar; George Duvivier, bass; Charlie Persip, drums.