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.
During the late '50s, Ella Fitzgerald continued her Song Book records with Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book, releasing a series of albums featuring 59 songs written by George and Ira Gershwin. Those songs, plus alternate takes, were combined on a four-disc box set, Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book, in 1998. These performances are easily among Fitzgerald's very best, and for any serious fan, this is the ideal place to acquire the recordings, since the sound and presentation are equally classy and impressive.
Producer Norman Granz oversaw two Porgy & Bess projects. The first involved Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, and came together during the autumn of 1957 with brassy big band and lush orchestral arrangements by Russ Garcia. This is the classic Verve Porgy & Bess, and it's been reissued many, many times. The second, recorded during the spring and summer of 1976 and issued by RCA, brought Ray Charles together with versatile British vocalist Cleo Laine, backed by an orchestra under the direction of Frank DeVol. A comparison of these two realizations bears fascinating fruit, particularly when the medleys of street vendors are played back to back…
Ella and Louis is an inspired collaboration, masterminded by producer Norman Granz. Both artists were riding high at this stage in their careers, and Granz assembled a stellar quartet of Oscar Peterson (piano), Buddy Rich (drums), Herb Ellis (guitar) and Ray Brown (bass). Equally inspired was the choice of material, with the gruffness of Armstrong's voice blending like magic with Fitzgerald's stunningly silky delivery. Outstanding are Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" and "Isn't This a Lovely Day," and everything else works like a dream, with the golden star going to the Gershwin brothers' "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Gentle and sincere, this is deserving of a place in every home.
This release comes in a cardboard box which houses a 4-panel Digisleeve and a 66-page booklet. Ella Fitzgerald's outstanding songbook series has become an institution unto itself. This 1957 effort is distinguished from Fitzgerald's other songbooks in that it is the only album in which the composer whose work she is singing actively participates. In fact, these recordings are packed with some of the key figures in 20th century jazz. As if Ella and Duke weren't enough, Ellington's arranger/composer Billy Strayhorn, guest musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson, and brilliant record producer Norman Granz all have a hand in the proceedings.
The Jazz Club series is an attractive addition to the Verve catalogue. With it's modern design and popular choice of repertoire, the Jazz Club is not only opened for Jazz fans, but for everyone that loves good music.
Although the subject of countless roundups, regal chanteuse Ella Fitzgerald guarantees nothing less than a quality mix. A balm for migraines and perfect for nights at home, Fitzgerald's ballad artistry is particularly stunning; so much so that Verve is presenting this encore of her first Jazz 'Round Midnight disc. The new look comes with a fresh batch of glowing interpretations from the seemingly bottomless Verve vaults.
Peggy Lee received strong reviews for her portrayal of a troubled singer in Jack Webb's Jazz Age crime drama Pete Kelly's Blues. This isn't the movie's official soundtrack (which comes with musical contributions from Ella Fitzgerald and a crack jazz ensemble, as well as many of the songs found here), but re-recordings of tunes that Lee performed in the movie. Since Pete Kelly's Blues takes place during the 1920s, Harold Mooney's orchestrations combine elements of old-style Dixieland with a 1950s swing style…