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Ella In Japan (Live)

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Album Review

Ella Fitzgerald had recorded live albums in venues ranging from Newport to Berlin to Hollywood when she and a quartet led by Roy Eldridge traveled to Japan in early 1964 for a series of concerts. Norman Granz, the former Verve head and current Fitzgerald manager who accompanied the musicians on their trip, recorded the concerts for release, but the tapes sat unissued in the Verve vaults — a victim of the surplus of Ella material already recorded but not released — for nearly 50 years, until the 2011 two-disc reissue Ella in Japan: 'S Wonderful. In the early '60s, Japan was thick with jazz fans, and crowds swarmed the Hibiya Kokaido Public Hall in Tokyo for the January 19 show that is included on the first disc. (The second disc includes a far more exclusive affair, recorded at a hotel a few days later.) Although another live album was recorded and released just a few short months after these shows (Ella at Juan-Les-Pins), the material has few overlaps. Ella is in fine form — as usual, she turned up the candlepower in front of an audience — personalizing Peggy Lee's "I Love Being Here with You" early in the program, and even singing in Japanese, to the delight of the crowd, during a stirring "'S Wonderful." The quartet, including Eldrige on trumpet plus pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Bill Yancey, and drummer Gus Johnson, are quite adept at sounding bigger than a four-piece, especially on Ella's saucy "Whatever Lola Wants." (Also, an instrumental mini-set of four tracks concludes the first disc.) Raiding the vaults can be a risky proposition, but here, as with the massive four-disc Twelve Nights in Hollywood compilation, fans of Fitzgerald specifically, or great jazz singing in general, will find a wealth of great material.

Customer Reviews

Great collection

With so many Ella Fitzgerald collections out there it tough to know what to pick. This double cd is a fantastic collection of her best work and the live element conveys a true immediacy of her talent. Many tracks have been slowed down for maximum blues impact and the orchestra is spot on - enhancing without overwhelming. This is my favorite Ella cd.

Unrelentingly Nonpareil

Ella produces the sort of greatness many only dream about. She successfully tapped into her gift; and was a walking Legend. This recording, like ALL the rest, is a perfect display of that.
This Album is great for old and new Ella fans alike. Enjoy; and be inspired and enlightened by the POWER of Ella Fitzgerald.


Born: April 25, 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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