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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Universal Music

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1956 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1957 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1957 | Verve Reissues

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve

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Among Ella Fitzgerald's gigantic discography, the eight volumes of her Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Complete American Songbook form a sacred pantheon. The idea for these records came from producer Norman Granz, who managed the singer and was the boss of Verve. The first volume, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook, which came out in 1956, was a runaway success with critics and the public alike. So much so that in that same year, Ella followed it up with Sings the Rodgers & Hart Songbook and then again in 1957 with Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook. This volume, which is given over to the songs of Irving Berlin, was conceived in sessions from 13 to 19 March 1958, with an orchestra directed by the classy and reserved Paul Watson. It's hard to sum up this double album in few words (it originally came out in two separate volumes) without breaking out reams of superlatives. Newcomers to her work can take this record as an easy base camp from which to ascend Ella Everest. Across a repertoire to die for (Berlin passed away in 1989 at the age of 101, having written more than 800 songs!), with light and gay numbers taking centre stage, Ella's voice picks out the great writer's romanticism, which never feels cloying. For fellow composer Jerome Kern, at the heart of Irving Berlin's writing was his faith in American vernacular: his songs were indivisibly linked with the country's history and image. Here, in ubiquitous favourites like Cheek to Cheek, in Watson's arrangements, in ambient swing, in freewheeling and sensual singing, we see the then-41-year-old American reaching the summit of perfection. This is one to play and play and play, again and again and again... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve

Among Ella Fitzgerald's gigantic discography, the eight volumes of her Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Complete American Songbook form a sacred pantheon. The idea for these records came from producer Norman Granz, who managed the singer and was the boss of Verve. The first volume, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook, which came out in 1956, was a runaway success with critics and the public alike. So much so that in that same year, Ella followed it up with Sings the Rodgers & Hart Songbook and then again in 1957 with Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook. This volume, which is given over to the songs of Irving Berlin, was conceived in sessions from 13 to 19 March 1958, with an orchestra directed by the classy and reserved Paul Watson. It's hard to sum up this double album in few words (it originally came out in two separate volumes) without breaking out reams of superlatives. Newcomers to her work can take this record as an easy base camp from which to ascend Ella Everest. Across a repertoire to die for (Berlin passed away in 1989 at the age of 101, having written more than 800 songs!), with light and gay numbers taking centre stage, Ella's voice picks out the great writer's romanticism, which never feels cloying. For fellow composer Jerome Kern, at the heart of Irving Berlin's writing was his faith in American vernacular: his songs were indivisibly linked with the country's history and image. Here, in ubiquitous favourites like Cheek to Cheek, in Watson's arrangements, in ambient swing, in freewheeling and sensual singing, we see the then-41-year-old American reaching the summit of perfection. This is one to play and play and play, again and again and again... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz 
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1959 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1959 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1960 | Bill Evans Estate Music, LLC

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1977 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released February 16, 1985 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1986 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1986 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released February 3, 1986 | ECM

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Jazz - Released May 20, 1986 | ECM

Now well into its gliding Brazilian-tinged mode, the Pat Metheny Group hits the road, as this two-CD set catches the band live in Dallas, Philadelphia, Hartford, Sacramento, and Nacogdoches, TX. Percussionist Naná Vasconcelos is still listed as a "special guest," but ever since Wichita Falls, he had not only been a part of the group, he was the transforming element in the Metheny "sound," adding his various shakers, effects and ethereal vocals. Sidekick Lyle Mays gets deeper into floating, glistening synthesizer textures, but he is still able to take formidable and touching solos on acoustic grand piano. Still experimenting with new hardware, Metheny's work on a detuned guitar synthesizer gives the live "As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls" an exotic Balinese-like sound. Other highlights are the hard Brazilian grooves on "Straight On Red" and "Song for Bilbao," as well as the trademark Metheny glide of "Are You Going With Me?" -- and the brief title track has a winning, guileless simplicity much like that of Keith Jarrett in a prayerful mood. If you liked the popular Offramp, you'll fall for Travels, too, but get the former album first. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Jazz - Released May 28, 1986 | ECM

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Jazz - Released October 20, 1986 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Verve Reissues

Dinah Washington was a best-selling artist on the R&B charts during this period but she was also a very versatile singer who could easily handle swinging jazz, schmaltzy ballads, blues, and novelties with equal skill. The second of these seven three-CD sets in Mercury's Complete program mostly finds Washington being accompanied by studio orchestras although the Ravens join her on two numbers and drummer Jimmy Cobb heads a couple of jazz groups (including one with both Ben Webster and Wardell Gray on tenors). Not every selection is a classic but the quality level is quite high and the packaging is impeccable. Recommended. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released March 16, 1987 | ECM

Gismonti delivers this impressive mixed set for his third ECM release. The first half features Gismonti's Academia de Dancas quartet on a handful of originals, including the popular "Frevo." The band features Zeca Assumpcao on bass, Mauro Denise on reeds, Nene on percussion, and Gismonti on both guitar and piano. For the second half, Gismonti goes solo on acoustic guitar, Indian organ, and voice for a lovely program taped live in Munich. With fine notes and spoken bits by Gismonti, listeners will find much in the way of Brazilian musical and cultural history to compliment the music. A perfect overview for the curious fan. ~ Stephen Cook
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Jazz - Released September 5, 1987 | Verve Reissues

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Vocal Jazz in the magazine