Verve Records celebrated the 50th anniversary of Norman Granz's first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert with an all-star get-together at Carnegie Hall. Different groups of top players from Verve's legacy (both past and present) had opportunities to perform, and this CD has many of the highlights. Pianist Peter Delano plays "Tangerine" with a trio; Dee Dee Bridgewater sings "Shiny Stockings" with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band; Hank Jones pays tribute to Art Tatum; Abbey Lincoln sings "I Must Have That Man"; Joe Henderson meets up with Antonio Carlos Jobim (who made his final concert appearance) on "Desafinado";"Manteca" features trumpeter Roy Hargrove and trombonist Steve Turre; pianist Yosuke Yamashita pays tribute to Bud Powell; Betty Carter scats on "How High the Moon"; Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin play a restrained acoustic version of Bill Evans' "Turn out the Stars"; Hargrove teams up with altoist Jackie McLean and guitarist Pat Metheny for "The Eternal Triangle"; organist Jimmy Smith revisits Oliver Nelson's arrangement of "Down by the Riverside"; Art Porter and Jeff Lorber play some crossover, and J.J. Johnson contributes a few trombone solos.
Simply a grand and eloquent performance put together by Verve records highlighting the best years of Ella Fitzgerald – that sassy, charming legendary singer in jazz. The Best of the Songbooks features a captivating lineup of some of jazz's greatest composers and arrangers. It is here that Fitzgerald records and sings songs of Cole Porter, Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer.
Though her career stretched from the '30s to the '80s and she's widely considered possibly the greatest female jazz singer or all time, Ella Fitzgerald will probably forever be best known for a mid-'50s collection of albums collectively called the Songbooks, where she devoted entire albums to the works of such composers as Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, and Duke Ellington. THE BEST OF THE SONGBOOKS: THE BALLADS is one of the many compilations based on these recordings, and one of the best. From its beautiful, informative packaging to its gorgeously remastered sound, this 16-track, 64-minute collection treats the material with the respect it deserves. The material, of course, is first-rate, wall-to-wall standards from Johnny Mercer's wistful "Laura" to Ellington's sly "Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me." Fitzgerald's performances are equally outstanding, as are the mostly big-band arrangements. This is as good as jazz ballad collections get.
The only recording Ella Fitzgerald made as a duo with a pianist is re-created with this new and exciting duo. Very intimate, moving, grooving, a feast of the senses, this tribute CD to Ella Fitzgerald will make you remember the Great American Songbook!