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An economical alternative to the box set
on June 6, 2010
This compact set of two discs, formerly a Barnes & Noble exclusive, fits into a single CD case. It constitutes the final two CDs in the complete "Twelve Nights in Hollywood" box set. Together with "Vol. 1 & 2," these two sets present all of the music in the box set but in a more compact form, and they include many of the heretofore unseen photos in the larger album. I picked up both sets at B&N for the promotional price of $18.99 each, saving considerably over the cost of the big box. They're now available at Amazon for even less; buy both sets and the shipping is free!
These cozy dates, never released until 2010, come from a Los Angeles club called the Crescendo. They were recorded in 1961 and 1962. While the performances could have been a hit originally, producer Norman Granz unfortunately gave them short shrift: a single poorly-selected and poorly-mastered LP that flopped commercially. The tapes sank into the vaults, not to be unearthed until jazz researcher Phil Schaap dug into the archives in 1988. He found 14 hours of California recordings made over 12 days, along with unheard live sets recorded in Rome and Chicago. Another 22 years passed before Richard Seidel, the producer of the boxed set, assembled four CDs from the Hollywood tapes. In all, the CDs contain 76 gems from the Great American Songbook, both swinging and sentimental. Ella is a joy throughout: creative and playful in her phrasing and scatting, by turns relaxed and spirited in her mood. All four volumes are essential acquisitions for Fitzgerald fans.