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Ella Sings Broadway

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Album Review

Ella Fitzgerald combined forces with a studio orchestra conducted and arranged by Marty Paich for this 1962 studio session covering selections from hit Broadway productions, featuring compositions by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, Adler & Ross, and Frank Loesser. While the arrangements feature brief ensemble passages, the songs are a vehicle for the singer and are deliberately brief. Surprisingly, few of these Broadway tunes became standards for jazz singers. "Hernando's Hideaway" found favor with Fitzgerald and she added it to her repertoire for time; this version is entertaining with a prominent role for the bass clarinet, though it is somewhat hampered by its rather mundane lyric. The campy "Steam Heat" is inevitably associated with Shirley McClaine, but Ella makes a good effort on a number that would be considered a misfit by most of her fans. "If I Were a Bell" is fairly swinging; while the swinging "Almost Like Being in Love" is clearly the gem of the date, although both songs feature a distracting backup vocal group that should have been omitted. Ella's enthusiasm and spirited vocals carry the day on this fun-filled CD.


Born: 25 April 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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