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Ella & Louis Sing Gershwin

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

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Album Review

By no means does this CD contain all of the Gershwin that Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded together for Norman Granz, nor is it entirely an Ella/Louis album. Rather, it is a hopscotch yet nevertheless unified sampler of the Verve Gershwin archive, ingratiatingly programmed so that Ella and Louis sing together, trade off solo renditions, and remind us of their inimitable personalities at all times. All three albums that Ella and Louis made together are represented — the richest lode of Gershwin, Porgy & Bess, is summarized in a mere four cuts — and Ella's Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book and Louis Armstrong's Meets Oscar Peterson round out the original sources. While the backing ranges in size from the intimate Peterson quartet to the lush forces of Russ Garcia and Nelson Riddle, Granz's distinct, dry recorded sound unifies the package; the set ends with a galaxy of horn legends backing a wildly improvising Ella in a live 1957 take of "Oh, Lady Be Good." Nothing rare here — everything has been reissued on CD in multiple editions — but it's nice to have these tracks in one compact package. ~ Richard S. Ginell, 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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