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Ella Fitzgerald: Ella & Friends

Ella Fitzgerald

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Album Review

This compilation of Ella Fitzgerald's early works with various bands is quite similar to the ASV collection Rhythm & Romance, sans Chick Webb and the obscurities. Most of the same featured confreres — Louis Armstrong, the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, the Delta Rhythm Boys, and the Mills Brothers — are here as well. These sessions are culled from old sides from the Decca label produced by the legendary Milt Gabler. But there are many different selections in different proportions, and overall more popular and well-recognized fare. It's a good companion piece to the ASV collection, and in a sense a better consolidation of groupings among the 20 sides chosen. Highlights include "Can Anyone Explain?" with Satchmo, "I'm Making Believe" alongside the Ink Spots, the classic "Ain't Nobody's Business But My Own" with Jordan, "It's Only a Paper Moon" as only Ella and the Rhythm Boys could do it, and "Fairy Tales" with the Mills Brothers. This CD is easily recommended, for fans and soon-to-be fans. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

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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