Nat Hentoff prefaced his 1956 down beat review of Verve's first Ella Fitzgerald-Louis Armstrong collaboration with a prediction: "Ella and Louis is one of the very, very few albums to have been issued in this era of the LP flood that is sure to endure for decades." Today, those sublime performances, along with two subsequent Norman Granz-produced Fitzgerald-Armstrong albums, are regarded as milestones of American music. A dozen gems from these works are presented here.
Here is an instruction manual for singers. Phrasing, intonation, breath control, taste, musicianship, restraint, humor; it's all here. What with "jazz singing" wandering all over the lot as the century staggers to a close, let's hope that The Complete (what dimensions that phrase has in this context) Ella and Louis will be used for serious course work, and not just by beginners. The package contains everything from the LPs Ella & Louis, Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess, plus two tracks of Fitzgerald sitting in with Armstrong's band at the Hollywood Bowl. The contrast between her polished perfection and his rough perfection is delicious. Armstrong's trumpet playing, nearing its last full burst of glory, is as moving as his voice.The songs are by the cream of American song writers, including Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Arlen, Ronnell, Duke and Kern. They have never been sung better.
This compact, stylishly packaged, three-disc box set delivers exactly what the title promises: every one of the 47 master tracks (including a few unreleased tracks) recorded by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong for Verve between August 1956 and October 1957. The jazz standards and pop songs on disc one and two are what gained the most attention at the time, and justifiably so - Fitzgerald and Armstrong are possibly the two greatest scat singers in jazz history, and under Norman Granz's magnificent tutelage, both perform at the best of their abilities.
Recorded in 1957, Ella & Louis Again re-teams Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong after the success of their first album and a popular series of concerts at the Hollywood Bowl the previous year. Stylistically, Fitzgerald and Armstrong had very different histories; he started out in Dixieland before branching out into classic jazz and swing, whereas Fitzgerald started out as a swing-oriented big-band vocalist before becoming an expert bebopper…
The voices of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong are among the most personal and beautiful that the history of music has given us, transcending eras, genres and languages. In this wonderful 6-CD box we can find the legacy of this immortal duet including all their key tracks and also some rarities that connoisseurs will surely appreciate. With remastered sound and beautiful cover art, The Complete Anthology is the definitive album of Ella & Louis, which should be on every music collection.