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Ella Gold

Ella Fitzgerald

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Album Review

The cartoon drawing of Ella Fitzgerald on the cover of Gold may lead some to equate this with the parade of pitiful compilations foisted on the market by budget labels, but this two-disc set arrives from Verve, the home of Ella's finest recordings. Listeners wanting a brief overview of the most swinging female in history couldn't do much better than this — assuming, of course, that they don't need informed liner notes or full discographical information on these performances. Overwhelmingly from the '50s and early '60s, Gold compiles 39 excellent performances and wisely focuses on her songbook recordings of the era, heavy on Cole Porter, George & Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Rodgers & Hart. Not every song here comes from a songbook, though. Also included is Ella's stunning, legend-making 1960 performance of "Mack the Knife" at a Berlin concert.


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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