ELLA FITZGERALD SINGS THE DUKE ELLINGTON SONGBOOK (180G COLOURED VINYL 2LP SET)
Artist: ELLA FITZGERALD
Cat No: NOT2LP288
The Great American Song Book series began with Cole Porter and continued with great stage writers Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. The combination of top-class material with Ella’s unique vocal skills proved irresistible, and the fruits of her next exploration were eagerly awaited. The double album you hold in your hands, ‘Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Song Book’, was the only occasion on which the composer she interpreted played with her. It was also the first time the pair had recorded together, and gave her the greatest opportunity in the series to exhibit the wordless scat singing that was her widely recognised vocal trademark.
Produced by Norman Granz, the ‘Duke Ellington Song Book’ was recorded between June and October 1957 in Hollywood. While Ellington is considered by some critics to fall outside the top rank of composers – the so-called ‘Big Five’ being Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin – his Song Book was beaten only by Porter’s in a recent poll on the official Ella Fitzgerald website.
The Song Book series was undoubtedly the singer’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful work, and her most significant contribution to American culture. Let’s leave the last word to collaborator Duke Ellington: ‘Her artistry brings to mind the words of the maestro, Mr. Toscanini, who said concerning singers, “Either you’re a good musician or you’re not.” In terms of musicianship, Ella Fitzgerald was beyond category.’