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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

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Along with her Rodgers and Hart collection, this is one of the best of Ella Fitzgerald's songbooks. Fitzgerald's assured and elegant voice is a perfect match for Mercer's urbane lyrics and Nelson Riddle's supple arrangements. In light of this decorous setting, it's not surprising that Mercer's swagger-heavy numbers like "I Wanna Be Around" and "One More For My Baby" are skipped in favor of more poised selections such as "Early Autumn" and "Skylark." Even traditionally hard-swinging numbers such as "Day In Day Out" and "Something's Gotta Give" are kept in check with Riddle's vaporous, flute-heavy backing and Fitzgerald's velvet tone. Slower numbers like "Laura" and "Midnight Sun" add dramatic contrast with their enigmatic tonal backdrops and elongated vocal phrasing. Fitzgerald's Mercer songbook has become something of an overlooked gem partly because of the popularity of her Cole Porter and Gershwin collections. It's a shame, because this songbook is beautifully executed by Fitzgerald and Riddle and contains wonderful Mercer collaborations with, among others, Harold Arlen and Hoagy Charmichael. This is definitely one for any Fitzgerald fan and not a bad introduction to her vast catalog. ~ Stephen Cook
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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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
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1980 | Pablo

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1982 | Pablo

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1979 | Pablo

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
A good title cut, strictly by the book. ~ Ron Wynn
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
A collection of classic big-band-era performances by possibly the greatest jazz singer of all time, ALL THAT JAZZ is both an excellent introduction to the glory that is Ella Fitzgerald and an archetypal album of vocal jazz. Fitzgerald's trademark scatting is in full force on these 12 tracks, which are mostly live recordings. Many of the songs feature extended scat solos from Fitzgerald, as well as instrumental turns from alto Benny Carter, trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, and others. The songs range from standards like "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and "That Ol' Devil Called Love" to lesser-known gems like the delirious "The Jersey Bounce" and the exquisitely soulful "Baby Don't You Quit Now." A heartbreaking turn at "Good Morning Heartache" is perhaps the highest point, but it's difficult to pick a single best track among so much flawless material.
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Verve Records

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
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1983 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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
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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
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Verve Records

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
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1980 | Pablo

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1978 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This LP places Ella Fitzgerald (then 60) in an unusual setting. Joined only by organist Jackie Davis and drummer Louie Bellson, she tackles a wide variety of material that ranges from "I'm Walkin'" and "I Cried for You" to "Mack the Knife" (which did not need to be remade) and "And the Angels Sing." Not one of her more essential releases, Lady Time does show that even at this fairly late stage in her career, Fitzgerald could outswing just about anyone. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1963 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Ella Fitzgerald is rightfully adored for her superb, often-definitive interpretations of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hart, and Gershwin tunes, which are well documented in her Song Book series. The addition of Sings the Jerome Kern Song Book to Fitzgerald's discography is welcome. Recorded in 1963, the album proves Fitzgerald's voice as golden as ever. Yet age was beginning to color her singing a bit, and that texture adds a beautiful dimension to songs like the dark "Why Was I Born?" and the yearning "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man." Nelson Riddle's charts are typically smart and swinging, with a lush, full sound that balances punch and lyricism. Fitzgerald's ebullient delivery and honey-rich timbre bring out the humor of "A Fine Romance," the wistfulness of "I'm Old Fashioned," and the tender romance of "The Way You Look Tonight," putting her distinctive stamp on each. It's sure to please fans of Kern and big-band standards, and for aficionados of Fitzgerald's other Song Book albums, this is a must. ~ Anthony Tognazzini

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