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Ella In Rome - The Birthday Concert

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Album Review

This concert performance finds Ella Fitzgerald celebrating her 40th birthday. A top singer for 23 years at that point, she was at the peak of her powers. Backed by her regular rhythm section (with pianist Lou Levy, bassist Max Bennett, and drummer Gus Johnson), she puts on her usual show of the period, uplifting the ballads and swinging the faster material. Highlights include "St. Louis Blues," "Caravan," "It's All Right with Me," and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," during which she imitates both Louis Armstrong and Rose Murphy. This set concludes with a jam version of "Stompin' at the Savoy" with the Oscar Peterson Trio and drummer Gus Johnson.

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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