MUSIC: THEY HAD RHYTHM TOO

UNFAIRLY ECLIPSED BY HIS GENIUS, SOME OF GERSHWIN'S PIANO CONTEMPORARIES FINALLY GET THEIR TURN IN THE SPOTLIGHT

GEORGE GERSHWIN--EVERYONE remembers him. But Edward Elzear ("Zez") Confrey? Pauline Alpert? John Green? Dana Suesse? Today no one can even pronounce some of these names, yet once upon a time--back in the 1920s and '30s--all four of these pianist-composers thrilled large audiences with a scintillating mix of ragtime, jazz and classical sounds that became known as novelty piano. Lost in the shadows cast by Gershwin's brilliance, they have been forgotten, and undeservedly so.

A new eight-CD project on the Pearl label called Keyboard Wizards of the Gershwin Era aims to change that. So too does a contemporary pianist named Peter Mintun,...

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