On Gershwin's World, Herbie Hancock probes the essence of Gershwin’s muse in exciting new contexts, from the opening "Overture", with its African drum extrapolation of "Fascinating Rhythm", through the final, heartfelt solo treatment of "Embraceable You". But he doesn’t stop with Gershwin. The piano duet performance with Corea on Johnson’s "Blueberry Rhyme", the powerful Hancock and Stevie Wonder interpretation of Handy’s "St. Louis Blues", the sumptuous, orchestra-accompanied improvisation on Ravel’s Concerto for Piano in G, and the rousing version of Ellington’s "Cotton Tail", with Shorter soloing on tenor, open new windows on the world from which Gershwin emerged and the world he himself influenced. The African-American blues tradition, the musical ferment in Harlem, and French impressionism all inspired Gershwin. In turn, his "I Got Rhythm" became the basis for countless later jazz compositions, including "Cotton Tail".
Featuring performances by vocal superstars Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, and Kathleen Battle, and the instrumental contributions of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, pianist Chick Corea, saxophonists Wayne Shorter, James Carter, and Kenny Garrett, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, and bassist Ira Coleman, Gershwin’s World finds Hancock applying his unique piano genius not only to classic songs by Gershwin, but to pieces by contemporaries closely associated with Gershwin - stride piano master James P. Johnson, blues popularizer W. C. Handy, classical composer Maurice Ravel, and jazz giant Duke Ellington, making Gershwin's world another historic landmark in the rich and uncommonly diverse catalog of another American master, Herbie Hancock.
ME/Sounds 10 / 98: "Gershwin's World" ist eines der Top-Ereignisse des Jazz-Jahres 1998. Daher die Höchstwertung für einen wahrlich großen Wurf."