There is something spooky about Guitar Gabriel’s “Summertime”. “Summertime” is a George and Ira Gershwin song from the musical Porgy and Bess. It is one of the most recorded songs in history according to Wikipedia. On this recording, Michael Parrish plays piano and Mark Levinson sits in on trumpet. In the intro, Mike and Mark lull the listener trading the melody back and forth phrase by phrase. Then Gabe’s voice drops in, he sings the verse with his own variations on words and melody and trails each phrase with a wavering and stretched out vibrato like a sad and exhausted opera singer. It is beautiful and spooky at once.
I read that “Summertime” was modeled after the folk music of the American South, how appropriate then for Guitar Gabriel to reclaim it and perform it as it was truly intended. Guitar Gabriel’s genius is clearly on display.
This track was recently release on the 3rd Listener’s Circle Compilation.