Recorded just before and after the period that she made the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook, Ella Fitzgerald is in fine form on this obscure LP, performing a dozen standards. Although two songs are by Harold Arlen, the composers were in most cases less prolific than the ones she saluted in her songbook series. Ella is backed by a large unidentified orchestra conducted and arranged by Frank DeVol. Swingers alternate with ballads, and as usual, Ella uplifts everything, including "Let's Fall In Love," "Moonlight Serenade," "Gone With the Wind" and "East of the Sun." An enjoyable if not classic release. ~ Scott Yanow
Dubbed "The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums.
Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella).
This album is a great demonstration of this, the swing in the fullest sense demonstration.
This 1966 concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles features sets by Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, with the source evidently being a soundboard tape. His star soloists consistently shine, especially tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves in the flag-waver "Soul Call" and the ballad "In a Sentimental Mood" (the latter usually a feature for Johnny Hodges). Cootie Williams' brash trumpet is showcased in "Take the 'A' Train," while high-note specialist Cat Anderson squeals in his "Prowling Cat." The drums are a bit too prominent in the mix, the sound is a bit muddy in places, and the microphone does not always pick up the leader's spoken…