Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron - An American In Paris

Going with Gershwin, going wherever this Gershwin thing is gonna take me, I'm reminded of one of my fave movie bits: the sensuous, incredibly acrobatic ballet from An American in Paris. The trumpet solo in this version blows all the rest out of the water, forever. Hard to describe, really - you just have to listen to it - but it just has more - balls to it, more imperious sexuality, more Gene Kelly animal physicality. As I've said before, I never associated Gershwin with sexuality (though with this shining steed of a solo in my memory, I don't know how I could have thought it). 

Uan Rasey - does that name ring any bells? Not here. But he was one of the unsung heroes in MGM movies, one of those top-flight musicians who, instead of plodding along in the same groove with a symphony orchestra for decades, found himself providing the sound track for our lives. I don't even know how you pronounced his name, and he died at 90 a few years ago, but God, he made this number, made it racy, a little tom-cattish, finding misted midnight corners in it, nuances no one else could provide. 

I still think of Gershwin as asexual - the princely bearing, the Hapsburg lip, the "Gershwin is in the car" approach to the world - but from somewhere, or out of nowhere, this vibrating, brassy fire.

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