Piece of the Week: A Foggy Day (in London Town)

A Foggy Day in London Town

This Belwin arrangement of George and Ira Gershwin’s beloved jazz standard features a fully assessable vocal solo part, allowing you to feature a singer as part of your upper level jazz band. A Foggy Day in London Town captures the style of jazz vocalists like Michael BublĂ©, and this piece will provide the band and singer plenty of opportunity to swing. The vocal range of this piece is from F below middle C to third space C with some optional lower note choices at the end, making it an ideal showpiece for an alto or baritone singer.

Audio Sample:

Audio provided by Alfred Music Publishing Co., Inc.

Composer Biography:

George Gershwin was born on September 26, 1898, in New York and died on July 11, 1937, in Los Angeles. Together with his lyricist brother Ira, this gifted composer wrote hundreds of popular songs for the Broadway stage. Gershwin also composed for the concert hall, deftly combining elements from a variety of traditions including jazz, blues, and classical music. Gershwin, the son of Russian immigrants, received little formal training in his youth. His first professional work came as a ‘song-plugger’, a pianist paid by a music publisher to play new pop songs in stores. Gershwin already was writing his own songs during this time, and he composed his first big hit in 1919. This song, “Swanee,” was made popular by singer Al Jolson. During this same year, Gershwin also wrote his first complete musical, “La La Lucille.” Gershwin and his brother became well-known figures in the Broadway scene of the 1920s and 1930s. Their most popular shows included “Lady, Be Good!” (1924) “Oh, Kay!” (1926) and “Of Thee I Sing” (1931). While the names of Gershwin’s musicals may no longer be familiar, his songs remain popular. Hits such as “Embraceable You,” “I Got Rhythm,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “S’Wonderful,” and many others have become traditional standards. Gershwin also enjoyed success in the field of symphonic music. His work for piano and orchestra, “Rhapsody in Blue” (1925), his symphonic tone poem, “An American in Paris” (1928), and his opera “Porgy and Bess” (1935) are three of only a handful of works by American composers that have become standard concert repertoire. Gershwin’s career and his substantial contribution to American music was cut short when he died at the age of 39.

Arranger Biography:

W. Scott Ragsdale is retired from the U.S. Navy Band of Washington, D.C., where he served as chief arranger, composer, and trombonist with the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, the Commodores. He has also arranged for numerous bands up and down the East Coast for more than 30 years. He studied music at Southern Illinois University and the Berklee School of Music (MA).

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