Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an American jazz singer, sometimes referred to as the “First Lady of Song”, “Queen of Jazz”, and “Lady Ella”. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, timing, intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.
After a tumultuous adolescence, Fitzgerald found stability in musical success with the Chick Webb Orchestra, performing across the country but most often associated with the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. Her rendition of the nursery rhyme “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” helped boost both her and Webb to national fame. After taking over the band when Webb died, Fitzgerald left it behind in 1942 to start her solo career. Her manager was Moe Gale, co-founder of the Savoy, until she turned the rest of her career over to Norman Granz, who founded Verve Records to produce new records by Fitzgerald. With Verve she recorded some of her more widely noted works, particularly her interpretations of the Great American Songbook.
While Fitzgerald appeared in movies and as a guest on popular television shows in the second half of the twentieth century, her musical collaborations with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and The Ink Spots were some of her most notable acts outside of her solo career. These partnerships produced some of her best-known songs such as “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, “Cheek to Cheek”, “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall”, and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”. In 1993, after a career of nearly 60 years, she gave her last public performance. Three years later, she died at the age of 79 after years of declining health. Her accolades included 14 Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, the NAACP’s inaugural President’s Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.(wikipedia)
André George Previn KBE (born Andreas Ludwig Priwin; April 6, 1929 – February 28, 2019) was a German-American pianist, composer, and conductor. His career had three major genres: Hollywood films, jazz, and classical music. In each he achieved success, and the latter two were part of his life until the end. In movies, he arranged and composed music. In jazz, he was a celebrated trio pianist, a piano-accompanist to singers of standards, and pianist-interpreter of songs from the “Great American Songbook”. In classical music, he also performed as a pianist but gained television fame as a conductor, and during his last thirty years created his legacy as a composer of art music.
Before the age of twenty, Previn began arranging and composing for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He would go on to be involved in the music of more than fifty films and would win four Academy Awards. He won ten Grammy Awards, for recordings in all three areas of his career, and then one more, for lifetime achievement. He served as music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra (1967–1969), principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (1968–1979), music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1976–1984), of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1985–1989), chief conductor of the Royal Philharmonic (1985–1992), and, after an avowed break from salaried posts, chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic (2002–2006). He also enjoyed a warm relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic. (wikipedia)
Nice Work If You Can Get It is a 1983 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald and André Previn, with accompaniment from the double bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.
It was Fitzgerald’s only album recorded with Previn, and represented her first album of single composer material since her 1981 album Ella Abraça Jobim.
Nice Work If You Can Get It was the last in a long line of collaborations that Fitzgerald made with predominantly jazz piano accompaniment. Her earlier albums in a similar vein were Ella Sings Gershwin (1950), Ella Fitzgerald Sings Songs from “Let No Man Write My Epitaph” (1960), and Ella and Oscar (1975). For these albums she was accompanied by the pianists Ellis Larkins, Paul Smith, and Oscar Peterson respectively. Nice Work If You Can Get It was also Fitzgerald’s first all Gershwin album since 1959’s Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook.
The album cover is a caricature of Fitzgerald, Previn, and the Gershwin brothers by the American cartoonist Al Hirschfeld. The album notes were written by Benny Green. (wikipedia)
Ella Fitzgerald, who in the late ’50s recorded the very extensive George and Ira Gershwin Songbook, revisits their music on this duet outing with pianist André Previn. Her voice was past her prime by this point, but she was able to bring out a lot of the beauty in the ten songs, giving the classic melodies and lyrics tasteful and lightly swinging treatment. Nice Work If You Can Get It is not an essential CD but is a reasonably enjoyable outing. (by Scott Yanow)
Another Gershwin album recorded by the great Ella Fitzgerald. Her accompanist on piano here is Andre Previn, who switched back and forth between classical and jazz more than once. The record was produced by Norman Granz and at that time, in 1983, Ella’s voice had already acquired a somewhat rougher sound, but her interpretations of these Gershwin ballads is like this one, timeless. Recommended listening ! (Rudi K.)
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (bass)
André Previn (piano)
01. A Foggy Day 6.11
02. Nice Work If You Can Get It 5.14
03. But Not For Me 3.50
04. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off 2.47
05. How Long Has This Been Going On? 5,01
06. Who Cares? 4.29
07. Medley: I’ve Got A Crush On You / Someone To Watch Over Me / Embraceable You 4,57
08. They Can’t Take That Away From Me 3.28
Music: George Gershwin
Lyrics: Ira Gershwin