Ella Fitzgerald – Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book (1957)

frontcover1Ella Fitzgerald’s outstanding songbook series has become an institution unto itself. This 1957 effort is distinguished from Fitzgerald’s other songbooks in that it is the only album in which the composer whose work she is singing actively participates.

In fact, these recordings are packed with some of the key figures in 20th century jazz. As if Ella and Duke weren’t enough, Ellington’s arranger/composer Billy Strayhorn, guest musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson, and brilliant record producer Norman Granz all have a hand in the proceedings.

And what better backing band could one want than Duke’s orchestra? The usual suspects — Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney, and Sam Woodyard, among others — contribute fine performances throughout. Duke’s spectacular catalog dazzles, and his sprightly, lush textures are transfigured under Fitzgerald’s warm-timbred voice and elegant, precise delivery. Included here are classics like “Rockin’ in Rhythm,” “Caravan,” “Satin Doll,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing…,” each tune as familiar as it is delightful to hear in this new context. (by allmusic.com)

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Ella Fitzgerald has been responsible for many classic vocal jazz albums, most of which on Norman Granz’s Verve label and this 1957 classic is no exception. Half of the tracks here were recorded with Duke Ellington and his orchestra which include legends like Billy Strayhorn, Paul Gonsalves, Johnny Hodges and on Take The A Train, the High Priest of Bop Dizzy Gillespie even drops in to deliver an extra sermon. The other half were recorded with small groups which include heavyweights such as Barney Kessel, Stuff Smith, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown and the ever warm Ben Webster. Ella is clearly at home with such legendary company and turns in one winning performance after another.
On Rockin’ In Rhythm, she scats with skill and bravado which ensures she’s in command of the illustrious company present. When it’s time to Day Dream, she croons away with an ethereal tone and such emotional maturity that the listener is dreaming of his or her unrequited love too, not forgetting a tip-top solo from Mr Hodges here. When the aforementioned A Train arrives, it’s a jam session of the first rank with all the passengers frontcoversongbookswinging away; giving the listener a first-class trip to Harlem. Perdido and The E & D Blues are top-class jams from Ella and her fellas too which make any listener lost in jazz heaven. I’m Beginning To See The Light and Blip-Blip are such great expressions of joy & exuberance you can’t help but start snapping your fingers and tapping your feet too. On I Got It Bad, Ella cries her heart out making any listener weep along too.
The small group sides also provide legendary moments too. Cotton Tail, It Don’t Mean A Thing, In A Mellow Tone and Squatty Roo provide the listener more opportunities to experience Ella and her fellas to show off their A star credentials in swing. On Satin Doll, Ella takes things a step further, she swaps the Mercer lyrics with her own and a winner is produced. Just Squeeze Me is Ella at her sassiest. On Rocks In My Bed, Ella and Ben really make the listener feel the blues of having to sleep with rocks in one’s bed (Ben’s sax solo here is just iconic). Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me, Sophisticated Lady and Prelude To A Kiss give Ella and her fellas the chance to take the listener to a jazz club at 2am in the morning; every minute of these performances is filled with warmth, soul and class. Ella and Barney Kessel take things a step further on Solitude, Azure and In A Sentimental Mood, these tracks are saturated with so much intimacy and sincerity that this delightful duo could be crooning away right in your own living room at 4am in the morning. Lush Life gives the listener a chance to hear Ella & Oscar sigh as they pour their woes of repeated brushes with unrequited love out.

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All in all, a timeless recording that any jazz or Ella fan ought to purchase & THE place to introduce someone to jazz or Ella Fitzgerald. Arguably, Lady Ella’s best album.(by Le Real Luc Ow)

In other words: a masterpiece.

I include the songbook “Ella sings Ellington” from 1959 as a pdf file.

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Personnel:
William “Cat” Anderson (trumpet)
Ray Brown (bass)
Harry Carney (clarinet)
Willie Cook (trumpet)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)
Frank Foster (saxophone)
Paul Gonsalves (saxophone)
Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, saxophone)
Johnny Hodges (saxophone)
Quentin Jackson (trombone)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Joe Mondragon (bass)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Russell Procope (clarinet, saxophone)
John Sanders (trombone)
Paul Smith (piano)
Stuff Smith (violin)
Alvin Stoller (drums)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Ben Webster (saxophone)
Jimmy Woode (bass)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Sam Woodyard (drums)
+
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet on 24.)

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Tracklist:
01. Cotton Tail (Ellington) 3.26
02. Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me (Ellington/Russell) 7.44
03. Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’ (Ellington/Gaines/Strayhorn) 3.34
04. Solitude (DeLange/Ellington/Mills) 2.09
05. Rocks in My Bed (Ellington) 3.59
06. Satin Doll (Ellington/Mercer/Strayhorn) 3.29
07. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington/Mills/Parish) 5.21
08. Just Squeeze Me (But Don’t Tease Me) (Ellington/Gaines) 4.11
09. It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) (Ellington/Mills) 4.15
10. Azure (Ellington/Mills) 2.23
11. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart (Ellington/Mills/Nemo /Redmond) 4.12
12. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington/Kurtz/Mills) 2.48
13. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington/Russell) 5.02
14. Prelude To A Kiss (Ellington/Gordon/Mills) 5.29
15. Mood Indigo (Bigard/Ellington/Mills) 3.28
16. In A Mellow Tone (Ellington/Gabler) 5.12
17. Love You Madly (Ellington) 4.41
18. Lush Life (Strayhorn) 3.41
19. Squatty Roo (Hodges) 3.41
20. Rockin’ In Rhythm (Carney/Ellington/Mills) 5.20
21. Drop Me Off In Harlem (Ellington/Kenny) 3.51
22. Day Dream (Ellington/Latouche/Strayhorn) 4.00
23. Caravan (Ellington/Mills/Tizol) 3.55
24. Take the “A” Train (Strayhorn) 6.41
25. I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues (Ellington/George)
26. Clementine (Strayhorn) 2.41
27. I Didn’t Know About You (Ellington/Russell) 4.13
28. I’m Beginning To See The Light (Ellington(George/Hodges/James) 3.28
29. Lost In Meditation (Ellington/Mills/Singer/Tizol) 3.28
30. Perdido (Drake/Lengsfelder/Tizol) 6.13
31. I’m Just A Lucky So And So (David/Ellington) 4.15
32. All Too Soon (Ellington/Sigman) 5.02
33. Everything But You (Ellington/George/James) 5.29
34. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Ellington/Webster) 6.15
35. Blip-Blip (Ellington/Kuller) 3.04
36. Chelsea Bridge (Strayhorn) 3.24
37. The E and D Blues (E for Ella, D for Duke) (Ellington/Strayhorn) 4.51

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Various Artists – Beatles vs. Stones – British Pop Hits Go Groovy (2010)

FrontCover1Part of Verve’s Jazz Club series, Beatles vs. Stones collects 18 songs (nine apiece) from the two British Invasion icons, all of which arrive in the form of covers performed by the likes of Count Basie (“Michelle”), Shake Keane with the Ivor Raymonde Orchestra (“As Tears Go By”), Oscar Peterson (“Yesterday”), and Caetano Veloso (“Let It Bleed”).

Appropriately budget-priced, the concept is pure novelty, but hearing the jazz elite interpret some of the most famous rock & roll songs in history is almost worth the small change. (by James Christopher Monger)

Booklet12010 collection of cover versions of Beatles and Stones classics performed by the Jazz elite. The JAZZ CLUB series is an attractive addition to the Verve catalogue. With its modern design and popular choice of repertoire, the JAZZ CLUB is not only opened for Jazz fans, but for everyone that loves good music. This collection includes tracks performed by Count Basie, Wes Montgomery, Oscar Peterson, Sergio Mendes and many others. (by cduniverse.com)

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Tracklist:

Beatles:
01. Count Basie: Michelle (1966) 2.46
02. Wes Montgomery: Eleanor Rigby (1967) 3.07
03. Wills Jackson: A Hard Days Night (1965) 5.37
04. Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66: With A Little Help From My Friends (1970) 2.33
05. Monty Alexander: Let It Be (1970) 3.42
06. Oscar Peterson: Yesterday (1970) 4.04
07. Gerry Mulligan: Can t Buy Me Love (1965) 3.38
08. Ella Fitzgerald: Hey Jude (1969) 3.52
09. George Benson: Because/Come Together (1969) 7.26

All songs written by John Lennon + Paul McCartney

Stones:
10. The Andrew Oldham Orchestra: Blue Turns To Grey (1966) 2.55
11. Kai Winding: Time Is On My Side (1963) 3.12
12. Shake Keane w. The Ivor Raymonde Orchestra: As Tears Go By (1968) 3.09
13. Ted Heath & His Music: Honky Tonk Women (1969) 3.23
14. Rotary Connection feat. Minnie Ripperton: The Salt Of The Earth (1969) 4.59
15. Barbara Dennerlein: Satisfaction (1999) 5.21
16. Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra: Jumpin Jack Flash (1968) 2.32
17. Cal Tjader: Gimme Shelter (1995) 2.55
18. Caetano Veloso: Let It Bleed (1968) 3.22

All songs written by Mick Hagger + Keith Richards

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Ella Fitzgerald – Lady Time (1978)

FrontCover1Ella Fitzgerald is, probably, the most popular female jazz vocalist of the last 100 years.

She has been rightly described as the ‘First Lady of Song’, in a career, which spanned over 6 decades.

Ella sold over 40 million albums in her career, which is a huge achievement, when it should be remembered that, at one stage in her life, she was penniless and lived on the streets.

InTheStudioThis CD places Ella Fitzgerald (then 60) in an unusual setting. Joined only by organist Jackie Davis and drummer Louie Bellson, she tackles a wide variety of material that ranges from “I’m Walkin'” and “I Cried for You” to “Mack the Knife” (which did not need to be remade) and “And the Angels Sing.” Not one of her more essential releases, Lady Time does show that even at this fairly late stage in her career, Ella Fitzgerald could outswing just about anyone.(by Scott Yanow)

EllaFitzgerald1978Ella Fitzgerald, 1978

Personnel:
Louie Bellson (drums)
Jackie Davies (organ)
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)

BackCoverTracklist:
01. I’m Walkin’ (Domino/Bartholomew) 5.30
02. All Or Nothing At All (Altman/Lawrence) 6.29
03. I Never Had A Chance (Berlin) 4.03
04. I Cried For You (Now It’s Your Turn To Cry Over Me) (Lyman/Freed/Arnheim) 3.17
05. What Will I Tell My Heart (Lawrence/Tinturin) 1.57
06. Since I Fell For You (Johnson) 4.26
07. And The Angels Sing (Mercer/Elman) 3.07
08. Confessin’ That I Love You (Neiburg/Dougherty/Reynolds) 2.50
09. Mack The Knife (Brecht/Weill/Blitzstin) 2.57
10. That’s My Desire (Loveday/Kresa) 3.02
11. I’m In The Mood For Love (Mc Hugh/Fields) 4.36

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Ella Fitzgerald – Rhythm Is My Business (1962)

FrontCover1Rhythm Is My Business is a 1962 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. The album was recorded with a big band and arranged and conducted by the American R&B organist Bill Doggett.

Down Beat magazine awarded this album 3½ stars, commenting that the emphasis here was on “swinging”.

Billboard reviewed the album in September 1962 and said that it “rates a lot of play”. (by wikipedia)

Organist Bill Doggett had a rare chance on this album to write swinging charts for a big band. Ella Fitzgerald is in the spotlight throughout, mostly singing swing-era songs along with a couple of newer pieces, such as “Hallelujah I Love Him So” and “No Moon at All.” “I Can’t Face the Music” is the longest performance at 5:01, and all but three of the other selections are under three minutes, so there is no real stretching out. However, Ella’s voice was in its prime, and the charts are excellent. (by Scott Yanow)

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Singer Ella Fitzgerald, left, receives her seventh Grammy Award as top female vocalist for 1962 in Las Vegas on May 17, 1963. Van Alexander, President of the Hollywood chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science, flew to Las Vegas to present the award.

Personnel:
Ray Copeland (trumpet)
Carl Davis (reeds)
Lucille Dixon (bass)
Jerry Dodgion (reeds)
Bill Doggett (organ)
George Duvivier (bass)
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)
Gus Johnson (drums)
Hank Jones (piano)
Taft Jordan (trumpet)
Melba Liston (trombone)
Mundell Lowe (guitar)
Ernie Royal (trumpet)
Wilmer Shakesnider (reeds)
Les Taylor (reeds)
Joe Wilder (trumpet)
Kai Winding (trombone)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Phil Woods (reeds)

BackCover1Tracklist
01. Rough Ridin’ (Fitzgerald/Jones/Tennyson) 2.51
02. Broadway (Bird/McRae/Woode) 2.43
03. You Can Depend On Me (Carpenter/Dunlap/Hines) 3.32
04. Runnin’ Wild (Gibbs/Grey/Wood) 2.40
05. Show Me the Way to Get Out of This World ‘Cause That’s Where Everything Is (Clark/Dennis) 2.42
06. I’ll Always Be In Love With You (Green/Ruby/Stept) 2.50
07. Hallelujah, I Love Him So (Charles) 2.34
08. I Can’t Face The Music (Bloom/Koehler) 5.00
09. No Moon At All (Evans/Mann) 2.36
10. Laughin’ On The Outside (Raleigh/Wayne) 4.53
11. After You’ve Gone (Creamer/Layton) 4.08

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