Originally released on Atlantic as Ella Loves Cole and then reissued on Pablo with two extra cuts from 1978, this set features the great Ella Fitzgerald (still in excellent form) backed by an orchestra arranged by Nelson Riddle performing an extensive set of Cole Porter songs. Fifteen years earlier Fitzgerald had had great success with her Cole Porter Songbook and this date, even with a few hokey arrangements, almost reaches the same level. Trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison and pianist Tommy Flanagan are among the supporting cast. Highlights include "I Get a Kick out of You," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "All of You," "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "Just One of Those Things."
This admittedly pricey - but by all means mandatory - Grammy Award-winning box set is the final word on the "songbooks" recorded by Ella Fitzgerald between 1956 and 1964. The audio contents have been completely remastered and each title has been expanded - wherever possible - to include previously unissued material. In terms of packaging, the producers went to extreme lengths to create exact reproductions of all the vintage LP jacket artwork. Even going so far as to precisely miniaturize the entire hardbound text The Gershwins: Words Upon Music that accompanied their 1959 collection as well as the booklet that came with the Ellington anthology…
Another typically wonderful LP of Ella Fitzgerald in her prime, Fitzgerald is joined by pianist Lou Levy, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Joe Mondragon, and drummer Stan Levey. Fitzgerald is in fine form on such numbers as "A Night in Tunisia," an emotional "You're My Thrill," "Jersey Bounce," and "Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie." Although not reaching the heights of her live performances, this is an excellent (and somewhat underrated) set.
In January 1966 Duke Ellington, in tournee in Europe, had some concerts in Italy with his orchestra, including some of the most famous "ellingtonians". These very rare recordings were taken during the afternoon concert at Teatro Lirico in Milan January 30, 1966. The performance of the orchestra was followed by a set of Ella Fitzgerald and her trio and was closed by a meeting of Ella and the orchestra in Cotton Tail with a very exciting duet between the "scat" of Ella and the sax of Paul Gonsalves.
Recorded in 1967 and originally released that same year by Capitol Records as an LP (and re-released seasonally several times since then), Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas is a rarity among rarities in that it is a holiday album that actually holds up as a mature artistic statement. Oh, the songs are familiar, with Fitzgerald tackling 13 standards like "Silent Night," "Joy to the World," and "We Three Kings," but in her hands they become vehicles for her precise yet natural-sounding elocution and subtle, confident vocal phrasing. In other words, she sings these songs like they're fresh and new to the world, and that's no easy task. The end result is one of the best Christmas albums ever made.
Although Count Basie gets cobilling with Ella Fitzgerald on this concert recording from the 1979 Montreux Jazz Festival, the veteran pianist is only on the final of the 11 songs. His big band, along with pianist Paul Smith, backs the veteran singer for a set of standards and, although Fitzgerald was beginning to fade, she could still hint strongly at her former greatness. Highlights include "Sweet Georgia Brown," "'Round Midnight" and "Honeysuckle Rose."
Ella Fitzgerald was never thought of as a blues singer but she does a surprisingly effective job on the ten blues songs here, including "See See Rider," "Trouble in Mind," "St. Louis Blues," and Bessie Smith's "Jailhouse Blues." She somehow sings more or less in the style of the classic blues vocalists of the 1920s and largely pulls it off. Trumpeter Roy Eldridge, who has few solos and is low in the mix, is largely wasted, as organist Wild Bill Davis (with assistance from guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Gus Johnson) dominate the ensembles. It's an interesting set.
Surprisingly enough this 1963 LP was the first time (other than a couple songs) that Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie recorded together. (The match-up was so logical that it would be repeated many times over the next 20 years.) Fitzgerald sounds fine and, even if Quincy Jones' arrangements did not give the Basie musicians as much space for solos - although two songs do feature a bit of trumpeter Joe Newman, trombonist Urbie Green and Frank Foster on tenor - this is an enjoyable effort. High points include "Honeysuckle Rose," "Them There Eyes" and "Shiny Stockings."
It was originally issued as "Ella & Basie!" and reissued later with slightly different cover art as "On the Sunny Side of the Street".