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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Can You Miss With Ella And Berlin,
Of the "big five", Berlin is admittedly the most sentimental and perhaps least urbane. Where Richard Rogers could tell of ladies playing craps, (The Lady Is A Tramp) and Cole Porter could write of sniffing cocaine, (I Get A Kick Out Of You) and illicit love, (Love For Sale) Berlin was content to praise the joys of Easter Bonnets, White Christmas and Alexander's Ragtime Band. But let's not forget his more than capable hand at romance with the likes of Cheek To Cheek, Blue Skies and I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm.
As with all of Ella's songbooks, the arrangements, the selections and of course her superlative styling make this essential listening. I do have a preference for the Cole Porter and Rogers & Hart songbooks, but this collection still rates five stars. How could you miss with Ella and Berlin?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Defining American Music,
But it does.
In fact, Ella's interpretation of these classics just about defines uniquely American music. I was so taken with my "personal discovery" of these classics, and this collection finds and displays only the very, very best.
You'll love it, and wonder how you could claim to understand American music before you've given it a thorough hearing.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluest of Skies,
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Through Irving to Ella,
True,it has been said that Norman Granz became obsessed with "Songbook" idea and simply recorded everything by certain composer,without considering does Fitzgerald actually understand the words or not (there were some funny outtakes out of Gershwin sessions that showed this) and I must say that too often I find Fitzgerald singing "pretty" but floating in a cloud and probably not having a clue what's actually going on - she was focused on music and melody,lyrics were never her forte - in fact,all that wicked Cole Porter sparks went in one ear and out on the other where she was concerned.
That is why Irving Berlin suits her much,much better - this skinny little russian jew immigrant made name for himself as a "populist" composer (in other words,not cool,not in the jet set league of Cole Porter or Gershwins, his lyrics not witty but simple and effective) and out of necessity he was his own best lyricist who wrote hits for decades - and music for Hollywood movies and Broadway (I have really strong suspicion he simply wouldn't pay anybody and wrote lyrics himself but that might also be a working technique).Because at certain bottom point,Fitzgerald and Berlin had more in common than Cole Porter and his champaigne drinking friends,they meet in a friendly and respectful distance - she clearly loves singing his songs and the man was pleased with her comforting care,the way some old stuff suddenly became illuminated again when uplifted to stars with these heavenly arrangements and voice.
(The only odd step is "Alexander's Ragtime Band" that starts mockingly and than turns to swing,it is actually very important song for composer,being Berlin's first hit in 1911. but I can imagine someone saying "Gee,what can we do with such old song,let's have fun with it" and singer hams it up like its "A tisket,a tasket" because after all,she grew up singing novelties)
Strangely enough I didn't like Fitzgerald up to this point - I listened Billie Holiday and through the years decided that Fitzgerald has no clue what she sings about,she had pretty uninvolved voice and that with her everything sounds same. Than one day I ended up with this album on a ship crossing Atlantic so I had to better like it since I was in the middle of the ocean and the reason why I bought it was Irving Berlin whom I find fascinating. (Other people had discovered Irving Berlin through Ella Fitzgerald,for me it was the other way around) At the end of the long day I would listen this and you know,I would melt,relax,float and actually had to admit that there's nothing wrong with Fitzgerald - her version of "How about me?" is actually very moving - so I had to re-think everything,gave lady a chance and I'm glad I did.
Decades after its initial release,this superb album tribute to Irving Berlin still sparks,thanks to talents involved and high level of performance.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
5.0 out of 5 stars Ella on CD,
5.0 out of 5 stars Ella sings Berlin with Paul Weston,
Many of the `standards' are here: `Let's face the music and dance', `Cheek to cheek', `Change partners', `Reaching for the moon', and so on. The Tin Pan Alley tunes include his first hit, `Alexander's ragtime band', the `Russian lullaby', and the perennial favourite, `Always'.
Berlin had a somewhat difficult love life. His first wife, Dorothy Goetz, died shortly after their honeymoon in Cuba in 1912: the cathartic `When I lost you' that he composed at the time isn't included here. But `All by myself' from a 1921 revue is. He had a difficult time courting his second wife because she was the heiress of an electric distributing system magnate who didn't think a penniless composer was good enough for his daughter. These difficulties are reflected in several of Berlin's songs of the time. [Others appear on Sinatra's All Alone CD].
The wistful `Suppertime' is also featured here. It comes from the 1933 show (revue) As Thousands Cheer portraying scenes based on national newspaper headlines, a revue that also gave us `Easter parade' and `Heat wave'. `Suppertime' is a black American woman's lament for her lynched husband.
This double CD is an attractive package that will appeal to any Berlin or Ella Fitzgerald fans.
5.0 out of 5 stars Music from Heaven,
5.0 out of 5 stars One hit after another...................,
has performed, no one does it like Ella, "First Lady of Song".
Trust me, you cannot miss buying this CD. I promise, you will be so
glad you did! She does Irving Berlin like no one else can and gives it
her one of a kind best. Ms Fitzgerald delivers each tune with her style, grace, and her brand
of golden charm. Don't miss out on this fantastic recording.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recomended!!!!!,
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