George Gershwin blossomed as an accompanist before his talent as a songwriter opened the way to Broadway where he fashioned his own brand of American music. He composed a run of musical comedies, with his brother Ira as lyricist, and several classical works while he became a favoured guest in New York social circles. His 1924 Rhapsody in Blue was an instant classic rooted in his absorption of African American music. A decade later came Porgy and Bess, his magnum opus. The brothers left New Yorkto write songs for Hollywood – but their work was cut short when George developed a brain tumour and died at thirty-eight. Richard Crawford traces the arc of Gershwin’s remarkable life, seamlessly blending colourful anecdotes with a discussion of Gershwin’s unforgettable oeuvre.