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Best Of Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

4.9 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 26, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Excellent collection from Jazz greats Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. This disc selects highlights from the three albums they made together at Verve (including their Porgy And Bess), and adds a live track from the Hollywood Bowl.

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Ella Fitzgerald's voice was satin to Louis Armstrong's sandpaper, but when you put them together on a single song, their chemistry was unimpeachable. This disc selects highlights from the three albums they made together at Verve (including their Porgy and Bess), and adds a spiffy live track from the Hollywood Bowl. Though they don't harmonize much (Armstrong's voice wasn't built for harmony), Ella's dignified swing and flashes of teasing wit play off Satchmo's gritty, good-humored roar symbiotically. The material is mostly lightweight Tin Pan Alley stuff (lots of Gershwin, plus the likes of "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"), and they fly it like a kite. --Douglas Wolk
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 26, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: August 26, 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B0000047FO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,187 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was reading books to my daughter at Border's, when overhead I kept hearing the sweetest, purest, angelic voice singing to Louis Armstrong's playing. I knew it had to be Ella. Sure enough it was the best of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. I right away went and purchased the best CD of jazz I've ever heard. It's not just because the songs are popular again, because of movies like.."When Harry Met Sally." You just have to hear Ella and Louis together, they compliment each other. Her voice is pure and just so..perfect; his is raspy and undefinably cool. Truly a masterpiece for all time!
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Format: Audio CD
Who would have thought that it could have worked? The pitch-perfect, articulate, and yes, angelic voice of Ella Fitzgerald combined with the gravelly grunts and growls of Louis Armstrong...Two very different singers with very different styles getting together to record? But it does work, and the result is absolute perfection.
The way Louis and Ella blend, harmonize, and play off each other is simply astounding to hear. And I think that's the secret of why these two superstars were such stellar musicians: They loved making music. Just listen to the fun they're having on "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Been Good to You." It's not only delightful, it's heavenly. Listen and lose yourself in the slow, unhurried harmonies of "Stars Fell on Alabama." And from the opening, emotion-packed trumpet statement of "Summertime," you know you're in for a powerful listening experience.
It's rare that you find a musician who really, I mean REALLY loves performing. To find two such artists on the same disc? Indescribable. These two greats were put on this earth to make music and they made music with all their might. And we're fortunate enough to have it with us. This disc is heaven. Buy it. Treasure it forever.
TOTAL TIME: 68:03
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Format: Audio CD
With all due respect to some other reviewers, this is not "an album" made by Ella and Louis: it's a sampler comprising three Ella and Louis albums. Normally I would not even consider, say, a Sinatra anthology mixing three masterworks like "Only the Lonely," "In the Wee Small Hours," and "Come Fly with Me": each is a unique and integrally whole project. But I have the Ella and Louis LPs, so I picked up this compressed anthology to take some pressure off of the vinyl.

Like most "best-of" collections, it suffers a bit from uneven textures (the lush orchestration of "Summertime" seems like an intrusion on the intimate rapport established in the preceding numbers) and audio quality (variances in mics, mixing and engineering can be hard to disguise). So unless some of the tunes on this anthology seem absolutely essential, go with "Ella and Louis," if only for its more coherent, unified feel--like two supreme musical storytellers having an irresistable conversation in real time and in real space. (If you have a piano, imagine inviting both into your living room for the evening.)

Louis' meetings with Ella were his most successful collaborations with another major star (the Ellington get-together doesn't compare), and unfortunately I know of no extended, full-fidelity vinyl sessions featuring Pops with Bing Crosby. What's most noteworthy about their pairing is Ella's restrained deference to Louis, and Louis' passionate, animated trumpet solos (it was not unusual for him to "coast" at this stage of his career). The duets are at times a bit sloppy, or "under-rehearsed," especially following the trumpet solo, but the absence of polish is in this case all for the better.
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2 Comments 49 of 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Where do you begin reviewing a cd that, simply put, may be the closest thing we have to a musical "heaven-on-earth". The songs on this disc truly represents what is really astounding about each artist and how they were able to work together so incredibly well! And we can thank Norman Granz, head of Verve Records, for dreaming up this magical duo!
This cd is actually a compilation of the three albums that Ella and Louis released together. And,fortunately, what is included here is their very best. Between Ella's sweet vocals and Louis' incredible phrasing plus, of course, his amazing trumpet and each song is simply a joy to listen to! And, even more remarkable,is the sheer fun that each are having while recording with the other. This really was a "labor of love" for each of them!And, we are invited to join in on the fun...well, who could resist?
There are so many highlights, "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" THIS being the definitive version, "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and, of course, "Gee,Baby, Ain't I Good To You". Whether it's a ballad or an uptempo song Ella and Louis give each tune everything they've got. And,brother, that's saying a lot!Plus, at the budget price that it's given, why wouldn't you have a copy in your collection?
Overall, an amazing cd that shows how incredible jazz can be when in the hands of artists who simply are the "best" in their field.Elegant, sophisticated and a disc with real class. It's never gotten better than this!!
TEN Stars!!
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