New video: Prince plays variations on Gershwin’s Summertime

New video: Prince plays variations on Gershwin’s Summertime


norman lebrecht

April 26, 2016

Uploaded by Steve Purcell, who directed several videos for Prince in the 1990s, the take illustrates the acute musical ear and pianistic facility of the late rock star.

Steve Purcell writes: ‘ This is August 2, 1990 sound check Osaka Japan. I spent six years of my life working for, creating with and laying the foundation for the rest of my career with Prince. Long nights, remote parts of the world and creative growth beyond my wildest dreams. This may not be the Prince you think of but it is the Prince I knew. Those years were and will always remain the highlight of my career. Thanks for the good times RIP Kid. ‘

prince summertime


  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Curious if he ever quietly penned material for piano solo or with orchestrations or otherwise in his creative years.

  • Holly Golightly says:

    He looks like he’s wearing his pyjamas!! This performance as ‘jazz’ is so-so. A bit on the dull side, IMO.

    Why would anyone in the world want to play anodyne pop music when he/she has the chance to create jazz? It beggars belief!! And it must only be mammon.

  • Hilary says:

    There’s a connection between this and his pop songs, which are anything but anodyne.

  • Doug says:

    His rendition of Gershwin’s “Summertime” is fantastic. I also love Sam Cooke’s recording of it. Also, they have to make money in order to be able to make music or else they have to work at something else.

  • raincat says:

    he was a singer, composer, dancer, instrument performer,
    producer. He told us about 911 back to 1998.
    I respect this person.

  • I collect worthy versions of my all-time favorite song, Gershwin’s “Summertime”. This rendition with Prince playing piano is priceless, Gershwin off the cuff, no music in front of him. I’m putting this in my collection, just wish it were the complete tune. New respect for this musician as I’ve been exploring his output post-death.

  • Jana says:

    This is just a sound check. Of course he can play jazz, piano, guitar and jazz bass. Come on, he grew up with it.

    • Karyn Mottley says:

      Oooooooh! This man is wonderful! I could listen to Prince playing this tune all night. Prince has jazz in his blood. He is a rare occurrence in our lifetime and his lyrics of his many compilations will forever be in our musical thoughts. There may be negative comments, but they become irrelevant because this talented and very gifted young man accomplished what he set out to do and that was to share with the world his passion for music and brought it to us his way. Jana, we know what’s up! Love You Prince! I know you are resting in Peace!