“Summertime” a little bit different from our other more traditional blues piano but this timeless classic by George Gershwin deserves a place in everyone’s repertoire, plus this recording has a real blues influence. Also I especially wanted to add something for the vocalist, and this sounds equally good with a male or female vocal.
The recording below is actually a 2 pianos duet by Norah Jones and the late great Marian McPartland. We transcribed this to a solo piano piece with all the great blues voicings you can hear from the right hand and the equally bluesy left hand accompaniment. The sheet music comes complete with Norah’s lyrics, they’re a little different from the original but if you prefer the original lyrics you can easily find them on Google.
New! Norah & Marian play this in the key of B flat minor. If you find this a difficult key to play in, here’s the good news. I’m now including a 2nd transcription transposed to A minor which is much easier to play. You will get both transcriptions when you order.
“Summertime” is an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin by ASCAP.
The song soon became a popular and much recorded jazz standard, described as “without doubt … one of the finest songs the composer ever wrote … Gershwin’s highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of blacks in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century”. Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has characterized Heyward’s lyrics for “Summertime” and “My Man’s Gone Now” as “the best lyrics in the musical theater”. The song is recognized as one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded music, with more than 33,000 covers by groups and solo performers.
Geetali Norah Jones Shankar (born March 30, 1979), widely known as Norah Jones, is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actress. She is a daughter of an American, Sue Jones, and Indian sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar. She is Anoushka Shankar’s half-sister.
In 2002, Norah Jones launched her solo music career with the release of Come Away with Me, a commercially successful and critically acclaimed album that was a fusion of country music and pop, with elements of jazz. It was certified diamond, selling over 26 million copies. The record earned Jones five Grammy Awards, including the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. Her subsequent studio albums Feels Like Home, released in 2004; Not Too Late, released in 2007, the same year she made her film debut in My Blueberry Nights; and 2009’s The Fall all gained Platinum status, selling over a million copies each. They were also generally well received by critics. Jones’ fifth studio album, Little Broken Hearts, was released on April 27, 2012.
Jones has won nine Grammy Awards and was 60th on Billboard magazine’s artists of the 2000–2009 decade chart. Throughout her career, Jones has won numerous awards and has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Billboard named her the top jazz artist of the 2000–2009 decade.
Margaret Marian McPartland, OBE (née Turner; 20 March 1918 – 20 August 2013), was an English-American jazz pianist, composer and writer. She was the host of Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on National Public Radio from 1978 to 2011.
After her marriage to trumpeter Jimmy McPartland in February 1945, she resided in the United States when not travelling throughout the world to perform. In 1969 she founded Halcyon Records, a recording company that produced albums for ten years. In 2000 she was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. In 2004 she was given a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. In 2007 she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Although known mostly for jazz, she composed other types of music as well, performing her own symphonic work A Portrait of Rachel Carson with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra in 2007. In 2010 she was named a member of the Order of the British Empire.