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Jazz - Released January 1, 1956 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions Jazzwise Five-star review
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1964 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Though she recorded often during the early '60s, Ella Fitzgerald had mostly been seen in jazz settings, whether small group (Bill Doggett) or big band (Count Basie). Hello, Dolly!, recorded early in 1964, offered her a chance to record with an orchestra in the background and a list of popular crossover songs on the sheets. The first three were all big hits during early 1964, the opening title track a surprise chart-topper for her dear friend Louis Armstrong, the second, "People," a Broadway crossover hit for Barbra Streisand, and the third being the only title published by BMI on the entire LP, "Can't Buy Me Love" by the Beatles (coincidentally, the song that Armstrong knocked from the top). Just the beginning of Fitzgerald's flirtation with the new rock generation of the '60s, her Beatles cover is undeniably wonderful, an irresistible hard swinger with much room for improvisation, and none of the hesitation most jazz singers would display in the future when attempting to confront the coup de tete of cool performed by the British Invasion. Elsewhere the record is invigorated by Fitzgerald's feel for material and a series of underrated charts by Frank DeVol, such as the spare strings on Ella's mournful "My Man," the quiet Latin intrigue of "The Thrill Is Gone," and the lush strings of "Lullaby of the Leaves." © John Bush /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
For years, "The Girl fom Ipanema" was a staple in Ella Fitzgerald's songbook, so it's something of a wonder that it was not until 1981 that Ella Abraça Jobim, Fitzgerald's double-album immersion in Antonio Carlos Jobim's back catalog, appeared. Ella's first single-composer release since 1964's tribute to Jerome Kern, Ella Abraça Jobim is, more than anything, final proof of the unassuming Brazilian's place in jazz history alongside the great composers. Sadly Jobim's mellow bossa nova, drenched in the Brazilian concept of saudade, or agreeable melancholy, doesn't necessarily gel with Fitzgerald's swing-based and energetic vocal style. Fitzgerald and her small group take songs like "Agua de Beber (Water to Drink)" at just slightly too speedy a tempo, rushing a bit where they should be gamboling. Fitzgerald is in very good voice compared to some other recordings from her later years, though, sadly, she's clearly not at her peak. Norman Granz's production is typically excellent, however, and the arrangements are refreshingly free of the typical late-'70s/early-'80s post-fusion clichés. Neither Fitzgerald nor Jobim's finest, then, but not without merit. © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Ella Fitzgerald didn't lack for live recording opportunities in the late '50s, which on the surface, would make this first issue of a 1958 Chicago live club date an easy one to pass on. Verve label head Norman Granz recorded her often in the '50s with an eye to releasing live albums, which he did with her shows at Newport in 1957 and Los Angeles' Opera House in 1958 (not to mention another 1958 concert in Rome that was released 30 years later to wide acclaim). Those shows, however, differed widely from this one, which found her in front of a very small audience at Chicago's jazz Mecca Mister Kelly's (Sarah Vaughan's landmark At Mister Kelly's was recorded there four months earlier). Fitzgerald's artistry is basically a given in this situation, but much of the material recorded here was rare and obscure; "Your Red Wagon" had only been released as a single, her delightfully melodic "Across the Alley from the Alamo" never appeared elsewhere, and for a pair of Sinatra evergreens -- "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and "Witchcraft" -- the former had never appeared, and the latter only appeared later, on a 1961 return to the site of her Berlin live landmark. © John Bush /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1959 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
A fine gem among the diamonds of Ella Fitzgerald's late-'50s period with Verve, Hello Love may not have approached the quality of her songbooks, but it did allow her to sing a few fine songs she'd missed the first time around. (And although none of the songbook giants are represented, the material is hardly second-rate.) Wrapped in the strings of Frank DeVol's orchestra, Fitzgerald is a bewitching presence singing these dreamy standards: "Tenderly," "You Go to My Head," "Willow Weep for Me," and "Stairway to the Stars." DeVol's charts are dynamic as well, allowing space for expressive players such as trumpeters Harry "Sweets" Edison and Pete Candoli or tenor Ben Webster. A few of the titles are solo versions of songs she had recently sung on her Louis Armstrong duets. © John Bush /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Surprisingly enough this 1963 LP was the first time (other than a couple songs) that Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie recorded together. (The match-up was so logical that it would be repeated many times over the next 20 years.) Fitzgerald sounds fine and, even if Quincy Jones' arrangements did not give the Basie musicians as much space for solos -- although two songs do feature a bit of trumpeter Joe Newman, trombonist Urbie Green and Frank Foster on tenor -- this is an enjoyable effort. High points include "Honeysuckle Rose," "Them There Eyes" and "Shiny Stockings." © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1979 | Pablo

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A good title cut, strictly by the book. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Ella Fitzgerald combined forces with a studio orchestra conducted and arranged by Marty Paich for this 1962 studio session covering selections from hit Broadway productions, featuring compositions by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, Adler & Ross, and Frank Loesser. While the arrangements feature brief ensemble passages, the songs are a vehicle for the singer and are deliberately brief. Surprisingly, few of these Broadway tunes became standards for jazz singers. "Hernando's Hideaway" found favor with Fitzgerald and she added it to her repertoire for time; this version is entertaining with a prominent role for the bass clarinet, though it is somewhat hampered by its rather mundane lyric. The campy "Steam Heat" is inevitably associated with Shirley McClaine, but Ella makes a good effort on a number that would be considered a misfit by most of her fans. "If I Were a Bell" is fairly swinging; while the swinging "Almost Like Being in Love" is clearly the gem of the date, although both songs feature a distracting backup vocal group that should have been omitted. Ella's enthusiasm and spirited vocals carry the day on this fun-filled CD. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1983 | Fantasy Records

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A 1971 live recording, from when Ella Fitzgerald was still at the peak of her vocal powers, Ella à Nice isn't one of the vocalist's all-time greatest live recordings, but it's a very nice set placing her in the company in which she felt most comfortable, a simple piano/bass/drums trio led by her longtime musical partner, Tommy Flanagan. Most of the set list's time is taken up by themed medleys such as "Aspects of Duke," "The Bossa Scene," and "The Many Faces of Cole Porter" that are perfectly nice but, as medleys tend to be, a little disappointing. One would rather hear Ella work her magic on the entirety of "The Girl From Ipanema" or "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" than be teased with a verse and chorus. On the other hand, the opening "Night and Day" is simply outstanding. Opening slowly with an extended vamp by Flanagan and bassist Frank DeLaRosa, the song settles gracefully into a mellow groove, with Ella's patented scat solo a marvel of melodic improvisation. Though little in the following ten tracks reaches those heights (this was toward the end of that phase when Ella was unwisely covering pop hits of the day, and the set includes her takes on "Something" and "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," not to mention the actually entirely appropriate and well-done "Close to You"), Ella à Nice is an entirely pleasant diversion. © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1974 | Pablo

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This is one of Ella Fitzgerald's most enjoyable recordings from her later years. With pianist Tommy Flanagan, guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Keter Betts, and drummer Bobby Durham serving as a backup group (not a bad band), she swings everything from "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "It Don't Mean a Thing" to "Lemon Drop" and even Carole King's "You've Got a Friend." Her ballad interpretations are only topped by her scatting talents. This set serves as a perfect introduction to the mature Ella Fitzgerald. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1963 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1980 | Pablo

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard