It's all Gershwin. It's all instrumental. It's all acoustic. With "By George" virtuoso mandolinist Don Stiernberg and stellar guitarist John Carlini show what those instruments can do in the right hands.
Don and John initially set forth George's melodies as written, then engage in playful improvisation while being ever respectful of the musical integrity built into the original manuscripts. Their renditions are modern, yet with an eye toward a time when Gershwinesque chordal excursions were new.
In this project Stiernberg and Carlini are united once again with bassist Jim Cox and drummer Phil Gratteau, both of whom are veteran Chicago studio and performance musicians. They often accompany Marian McPartland on her midwest concerts --- clear evidence of their prowess. Jim and Phil create a groove you could drive a truck through, and they seem to do it effortlessly.
The finest musicians on the planet, the best melodies ever written, uncluttered yet sophisticated arrangements, and one of the most creative studio engineers in the business (Steve Rashid) all come together to make "By George" what appears so far to be a runaway hit.