This 1966 concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles features sets by Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, with the source evidently being a soundboard tape. His star soloists consistently shine, especially tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves in the flag-waver "Soul Call" and the ballad "In a Sentimental Mood" (the latter usually a feature for Johnny Hodges). Cootie Williams' brash trumpet is showcased in "Take the 'A' Train," while high-note specialist Cat Anderson squeals in his "Prowling Cat." The drums are a bit too prominent in the mix, the sound is a bit muddy in places, and the microphone does not always pick up the leader's spoken…
"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…
Dubbed "The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums.
Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella).
This album is a great demonstration of this, the swing in the fullest sense demonstration.
Part of a Fantasy sampler series that features musicians (and in this case a notable vocalist) performing the blues, this CD features Ella Fitzgerald on 11 performances taken from a variety of sessions. Although she never specialized in the blues, Ella had no difficulty swinging over blues changes and sometimes putting strong emotion into the lowdown variety. There is one song apiece from the 1950s and '60s, while the remainder of the program dates from 1971-1979.
Ella Fitzgerald was still very much at the top of her game in 1969, when this appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival was videotaped. Accompanied by the always swinging pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Frank DeLaRosa, and drummer Ed Thigpen, Fitzgerald works her magic with a number of favorites from her vast repertoire to the delight of her attentive audience, including "Give Me the Simple Life," "That Old Black Magic," and "I Won't Dance." But the singer was never one to stand pat with her song selection, so she was always looking at new material.
This admittedly pricey – but by all means mandatory – Grammy Award-winning box set is the final word on the "songbooks" recorded by Ella Fitzgerald between 1956 and 1964. The audio contents have been completely remastered and each title has been expanded – wherever possible – to include previously unissued material.