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Party-Goers Score With Gershwin

The Scene: Launch of pianist/film score composer Dave Grusin’s new CD, “The Gershwin Connection” (GRP Records), at a cocktail reception Thursday at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Maisonette Room. The evening just happened to coincide with the anniversary of George Gershwin’s birth, 93 years ago. Now is that synchronism or what?

Who was there: Lots of record industry executives, plus creative types including Gershwin-ologist and performer Michael Feinstein, Chick Corea, Patti Austin, David Benoit and lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman. Also, Sydney Pollack, Esther Williams, Beau Bridges and Michael Keaton with Courtney Cox.

The buzz: How record companies now have to be players in the global market just like film studios; DATs (digital audio tapes), DCCs (digital compact cassettes) and mini-CDs; how “mature music” is coming back in a big way now with the release of Barbra Streisand’s and Tony Bennett’s respective CD boxed sets, Natalie Cole’s hit album of Nat King Cole classics, “Unforgettable” and now this from Grusin.

Quoted: “The MTV Awards I’ve never watched. The Grammys-- no. I’m not interested in Guns N’ Roses,” said Michael Feinstein.

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Noted: “I was cloistered. I didn’t get into rock ‘n’ roll until I was 40,” said jazz musician Chick Corea.

Experiencing the Creative Process: Explained Grusin, whose film scores include “The Graduate,” “Tootsie,” “On Golden Pond,” “Havana” and many more, “This was the first record I’ve made that was almost painless. I tend to suffer with projects.”

Special touch: Grusin invited musicians Corea, Benoit, Austin and Feinstein to join him in performing several Gershwin tunes at twin pianos. It was clearly unrehearsed, but charming.

Chow: Nothing inspired in this department, not even a new interpretation of an old standard, unless you consider pizza, cut up in little squares and smothered in cheese, hip. Also, canapes, a cheese platter and a fruit platter.

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Dress code: Large doses of black on black. Men wore buttoned-up black shirts with black blazers. Or, black shirts with black suits. Occasionally, these outfits were accompanied by a noisy tie or a noisy shirt substituted for a black shirt. On women: flowered dresses and short, short suits.

Freebie Factor: Undeniably generous. Each guest went home with the new Grusin CD.


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