In 1923, bandleader Paul Whiteman wanted to turn the American dance band into something a bit more prestigious or, as Paul Osgood put it, make "an honest woman out of jazz." So Whiteman invited Gershwin to perform at his Experiment in Modern Music show, and the latter's Rhapsody in Blue concerto became the star of the evening.
Gershwin had conceived the concerto while on a train to Boston. At the beginning of 1924 he said, "I had already done some work on the Rhapsody. It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang that is often so stimulating for a composer."
And so, Chantry's Rhapsody in Blue brings the train and the honest woman of jazz together.
A man sits on a train, gently falling asleep to the sounds of the rattle on the tracks. He is jolted awake by an unknown lady in blue who encourages him to listen to the irresistible rhythm of the jazz in his soul.
Choreography: Paul Chantry & Rae Piper
Lighting: Owain Davies
"The stand out piece for me was the working of 'Rhapsody in Blue', which was funny, sharp and delicious with a spot on comedic performance by Paul Chantry."
"I was particularly struck by the Rhapsody in Blue, which I thought was brilliant."