Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book is a box set by American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald that contains songs by George and Ira Gershwin with arrangements by Nelson Riddle. Fifty-nine songs were recorded in the span of eight months in 1959.
Fitzgerald’s recording of “But Not for Me” won the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Female.
Ira Gershwin said, “I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them”.
This collection is one of the eight comprising what is possibly Ella Fitzgerald’s greatest musical legacy: Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Complete American Songbook in which she recorded with top arrangers and musicians well-known and obscure tracks by Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer. (by wikipedia)
By far the best of any of the songbooks Ella Fitzgerald made “The George and Ira Gershwin” songbook is a tour de force of pure genius from Ella and legendary arranger Nelson Riddle.
In January 1959 Ella and Riddle embarked on an ambitious project to record all of George and Ira Gershwin’s music, some of which had not even been recorded at the time! Riddle was coming off some of his best work with Sinatra and Ella was vocally in her prime at this point in her career. The recording was done over a few sessions ending in Aug/Sep of 1959, by the end of recording 53 songs plus several instrumental cuts, both must have been exhausted!
Ira Gershwin ( who was still alive at the time) commented after the record was released that he never knew he and his brothers songs could sound so good! Also legendary musician Andre Previn was so impressed with Riddle’s work on the album he recommended him to various people in the business for muscial projects.
I can’t recommend this enough. Regarded as one of the best albums of the 1950’s and rightly so and easily the best of Ella’s songbooks. Ella recorded 2 other songbooks with Riddle for Johnny Mercer and Jerome Kern as well as 2 other regular albums (Swing gently and swing brightly) which are also very very good indeed. (by Russell C. Witheyman)
And the great cover art was done by Bernard Buffet ! Bernard Buffet (10 July 1928 – 4 October 1999) was a French painter of Expressionism and a member of the anti-abstract art group L’homme Témoin (the Witness-Man).
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)
Pete Candoli, Don Fagerquist, Conrad Gozzo, Manny Klein, Cappy Lewis, Vito Mangano, Dale McMickle, Shorty Sherock, Joe Triscari
Milt Bernhart, Richard Noel, Tommy Pederson, James Priddy, Juan Tizol
Karl DeKarske, George Roberts
James Decker, Vincent DeRosa
Red Callender, Ed Gilbert
Benny Carter, Ronnie Lang, Ted Nash, Plas Johnson, Chuck Gentry
Gene Cipriano, Buddy Collette, Justin Gordon, Jewell Grant, William Green, Jules Jacob, Harry Klee, Joe Koch, Wilbur Schwartz, Buck Skalak, Champ Webb
Lou Levy, Paul Smith
Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel
Joe Comfort, Ralph Peña
Alvin Stoller, Mel Lewis, Bill Richmond
Larry Bunker, Frank Flynn
Israel Baker, Henry Hill, Harold Dicterow, Erno Neufield, Victor Arno, Victor Bay, Alex Beller, Joseph Livoti, Jacques Gasselin, Walter Edelstein, James Getzoff, Eudice Shapiro, Ben Gill, Murrary Kellner, Nat Ross, Felix Slatkin, Marshall Sosson, Misha Russell, Paul Shure, Dan Lube, Gerald Vinci
Alvin Dinken, Lou Kievman, David Sterkin, Stanley Harris, Paul Robyn, Barbara Simons
Cello – Elizabeth Greenschpoon, James Arkatov, Armand Kaproff, George Neikrug, Dave Filerman, Kurt Reher
Arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle
01. Sam And Delilah 3.18
02. But Not For Me 3.34
03. My One And Only 2.38
04. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off 4.29
05. (I´ve Got) Beginners Luck 3.11
06. Oh, Lady Be Good 4.02
07. Nice Work If You Can Get It 3.35
08. Things Are Looking Up 3.06
09. Just Another Rhumba 5.37
10. How Long Has This Been Going On 3.47
Music: George Gershwin
Lyrics: Ira Gershwin