George and Ira Gershwin: Slap That Bass

Written by Steven Blier

Artistic Director, NYFOS

In category: Song of the Day

Published December 2, 2016

As I deal with the current dystopia I encounter every morning on NPR, I keep thinking about the song “Slap That Bass” by the Gershwin brothers. “Dictators would be better off if they zoom-zoomed now and then,” they write. I couldn’t agree more. “Zoom zoom, zoom zoom, the world is in a mess”—but for a few minutes George and Ira make the world safe again. After all, I need to think straight if I am going to help put things right.

I offer it in three formats:

FRED ASTAIRE, with the original dance break from “Shall We Dance”

ELLA FITZGERALD from her Gershwin Songbook, buttery and smooth, if a bit bland

And a special treat: Susan Stroman’s staging in Crazy for You, taken from the São Paulo production and sung, of course, in Portuguese. American swing-time meets Brazilian pelvises. Just watched it twice…

author: Steven Blier

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Called “the coolest dude in town” by Opera News, master collaborative pianist and coach Steven Blier is the co-founder and artistic director of New York Festival of Song. Here on No Song is Safe From Us, Steven blogs about the NYFOS Emerging Artist residencies, writes the engaging and erudite program notes for our Mainstage concerts, and contributes frequently to Song of the Day.


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