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The Best of the Song Books

Ella Fitzgerald

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Album Review

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. Presented first is a rousing and captivating rendition of "Something's Gotta Give," a jazzed up, high stepping tune just right for finger snapping, with "enough brass to propel her across the finish line." Blazing up the tune, Fitzgerald soon melts the engaging listener's heart with the heartwarming ballad "Love is Here to Stay." Perhaps the most challenging and appealing number from the Berlin songbook, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," is sung most effectively, racing through with a sense of dignified grace like a master storyteller. After a dreamy ballad, Fitzgerald would usually close the set with the haunting "Miss Otis Regrets" as an encore, remaining one of her most requested songs. No other song brings to light her ability to glide into a song as the opening of "'S Wonderful," on which Fitzgerald adds a Charleston-era slang with great charisma in the verse. Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" is credibly one of her most haunting tunes, featuring a musician's muted trumpets that set the stage for higher-quality adult music with more passionate and sensual substance. Always a crowd favorite, Ella Fitzgerald shines with an enchanting rendition of "They Can't Take That Away From Me." The melody on "Midnight Sun" melts with the gripping sound of session musician Riddle, never taking away the poignancy of this work. Then there's other classics such as "Hooray for Love" and the flashy "Cotton Tail" to tingle and tickle the listener's fancy. This collection brings forth a sparkling blend of both Ella Fitzgerald, the lady and voice, and captures her spirit and ambiance with a perfect balance of up-tempo brass band hits and soft ballads. This songbook series is ensured to be a compelling and gratifying collection foretelling her legacy for some time to come. Originally, more than two hundred songs written by America's greatest 20th century composers were chosen to represent Ella Fitzgerald in a series. The Best of the Songbooks highlights that work. This is highly recommended and is sure to put a smile on the faces of the most novice and discriminating listeners.

Customer Reviews

Ella at her best!

This is a lovely compilation of songs that show why she will always endure. No one can touch her in technique, feeling, purity of sound, and interpretation of music. I highly recommend this album as the one that shows her at her best!


Born: April 26, 1917 in Newport News, VA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

"The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the finest female jazz singer of all time (although some may vote for Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday). Blessed with a beautiful voice and a wide range, Fitzgerald could outswing anyone, was a brilliant scat singer, and had near-perfect elocution; one could always understand the words she sang. The one fault was that, since she always sounded so happy to be singing, Fitzgerald did not always dig below the surface of the lyrics she interpreted...
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