Ella Fitzgerald: Sings Cole Porter’s Essential Songbook
This limited edition 180 gram yellow vinyl is a selection from Fitzgerald’s Grammy-winning 1956 two-LP set of songs by Cole Porter – perhaps one of the greatest vocal jazz albums to date. all the time.
Raising the value of two albums to one is clearly a subjective and difficult choice, but it was done wisely and the whole thing retains its balance. But to be fair, any selection from the original album would still be worth listening to. The marriage of one of the greatest jazz singers of all time to one of America’s most talented and accomplished songwriters is a marriage in heaven.
Cole Porter made a massive contribution to the Great American Songbook, and many of his songs have become jazz standards. But the longevity of these songs has generated a kind of blind reverence that wasn’t always there when they were written. It’s a myth to believe that they were all instant hits or that the jazz fraternity embraced them early on. Many of the so-called “jazz standards” were frequently written for obscure or failed performances. Songs were routinely taken from their originally planned productions and recycled many years later into other shows.
Fortunately, Porter was prolific in songwriting until his death in 1964, and we are now left with a legacy of songs that rank among the best.
We owe a lot to Ella Fitzgerald for pioneering the “songbook” concept and recording albums for Verve, each containing the works of a single composer. These recordings were extremely popular and did much to cement Fitzgerald’s career as well as the reputation of the various songs and their composers.
Fitzgerald has sometimes been criticized for the limitations of her voice, but when it comes to swing and rhythm (a key feature of Porter’s songs), there can be no better singer. These songs have been performed many times over the years by many artists, but probably never bettered. After nearly 70 years, they remain a master class in how to perform and sing Porter. From the opening track, I Love Paris, to the closing track, Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, Fitzgerald’s expressiveness, precision and phrasing (accompanied by some remarkable arrangements) are simply breathtaking.
Plus, the heavy vinyl and super clean pressing make it an audiophile’s delight.
I like Paris; Start the beguine; You all; Easy to like; I have you in my skin; I get a kick from you; Night and day; Love to sell; So in love; What is this thing called love? ; You Do Something To Me; Get out of town; In The Quiet Of The Night; Every time we say goodbye (44.57)
Fitzgerald (v) with, collectively: Buddy Bregman (arr, cond); Pete Candoli, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Maynard Ferguson, Conrad Gozzo