With the generous consent of Ira Gershwin, a live recording of the concert was made available. Hollywood paid tribute to the great Gershwin in the grand style only Hollywood could muster – a concert involving 7 conductors, half a dozen singers and a full symphony orchestra.
The program was broadcast live throughout the world. On the night of the concert, traffic near the Hollywood Bowl was at a standstill – 22,000 attended.
Al Jolson began the concert and said, “I am proud indeed to be the first one to raise my voice in tribute…..”
Al sang “Swanee” : Oscar Levant played “Concerto in F” : Fred Astaire sang “They Cant Take That Away from Me” : Lily Pons did “Summertime”.
The unforgettable performance for me was Gladys Swarthout singing “The Man I Love”, in a rich,deep voice with a beautiful, slow arrangement of the classic song.
What a night it must have been. If only it had been filmed….if only.
But there is a unique and memorable live recording to listen to.