Capturing Ella at the peak of her artistic powers, this 4-disc collection offers up some of the most definitive Gershwin interpretations ever recorded. Featuring superb arrangements by Nelson Riddle, songs here include "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "My One And Only," "Oh, Lady, Be Good," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "'S Wonderful" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" (and that's just disc 1!).
George and Ira Gershwin are probably the songwriters who have contributed the most standards to the American repertory, and Fitzgerald covers pretty much all of them in this mammoth enterprise. (The 53 songs were recorded in 1959 and originally came out in a five- LP box set.) Considering the scope of this collection, naming titles would be futile: rest assured that your favorite Gershwin tune is likely to be included. The singer's well-known versatility and musicality are in evidence, but what's especially amazing is the complete symbiosis between her and arranger/conductor Nelson Riddle. Fresh off injecting a shot of swing into Sinatra's career, Riddle enhances Fitzgerald's vocals rather than overwhelming her, and Fitzgerald, in turn, is stimulated by the musicians percolating behind her. Pure genius. --Elisabeth Vincentelli