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The Jerome Kern Songbook

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Album Review

Ella Fitzgerald is rightfully adored for her superb, often-definitive interpretations of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hart, and Gershwin tunes, which are well documented in her Song Book series. The addition of Sings the Jerome Kern Song Book to Fitzgerald's discography is welcome. Recorded in 1963, the album proves Fitzgerald's voice as golden as ever. Yet age was beginning to color her singing a bit, and that texture adds a beautiful dimension to songs like the dark "Why Was I Born?" and the yearning "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man." Nelson Riddle's charts are typically smart and swinging, with a lush, full sound that balances punch and lyricism. Fitzgerald's ebullient delivery and honey-rich timbre bring out the humor of "A Fine Romance," the wistfulness of "I'm Old Fashioned," and the tender romance of "The Way You Look Tonight," putting her distinctive stamp on each. It's sure to please fans of Kern and big-band standards, and for aficionados of Fitzgerald's other Song Book albums, this is a must.

Biography

Born: April 25, 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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