Among fellow lyricists he was “the jeweler” for the precise way he matched his often idiomatic syllables to his brother’s splendid notes. George Gershwin was the name everyone knew; Ira, who died in 1983, saw himself as a helpmate. He vastly underestimated his role, as this collection (honoring the recent centennial of his birth) vividly shows.
‘S Wonderful is hardly definitive, limited as it is to tunes culled from Concord recordings. But, oh, here is Rosemary Clooney’s marvelously declarative “Love Is Here to Stay,” and her wistful-turned-buoyant “A Foggy Day (in London Town).” Here is Mel Tormé teamed with the Boss Brass for a sharply scatted “Liza (All the Clouds’ll Roll Away).” Here, also, is Tania Maria’s samba-tinged “Embraceable You” and the underappreciated Carol Sloane’s lightly swinging “He Loves and She Loves.” Of course, look what they have to work with: pure Gershwin gold. (Concord)