When I took the Intro to Jazz Improv class with Brent Sandy at the University of Iowa, we were constantly improvising on Gershwin’s “Summertime” (from Porgy and Bess) in all 12 keys. It was interesting to hear it on many different instruments, played with different styles, so I thought it would be fun to search for random videos  of people of VERY different backgrounds improvising on this very song. I think these are really fun to listen to!

Ray Brown Trio:

Ray Brown was an American Jazz double bassist who collaborated with many famous jazz artists of his time, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. The soloist is Gene Harris on piano; he played in the Three Sounds Trio from 1956 until 1970. Jeff Hamilton is on drums; he can also be found as a member of the Jeff Hamilton Trio.

John Coltrane, Soprano and Tenor Saxophone:

Coltrane died at the age of 40 in 1967; during his lifetime, he performed with groups such as Dizzy Gillespie’s band and the Miles Davis Quintet, as well as  producing several renowned records.

Miles Davis, Trumpet:

Miles Davis was an innovator and famous jazz musician. Read more about him here.

Itzhak Perlman and Modern Jazz Quartet in 1987:

Itzhak Perlman is a virtuoso classical violinist; the Modern Jazz Quartet was founded in 1952, and it’s last recording was issued in 1993.

Billy Preston  (in the course of the video he does a “J.S. Bach” version and a “Ray Charles” version):

Billy Preston was a renowned keyboardist who collaborated with bands such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

What are your thoughts? What did you like or not like, and why? 🙂 Any favorites (including other versions not included in this post)?

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