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Ella Swings Lightly
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Digitally remastered edition of this 1958 album from the Jazz vocalist including bonus tracks. Ella Swings Lightly was the first of Ella Fitzgerald's very few collaborations with the great conductor and arranger Marty Paich. All of the music recorded during those 1958 sessions has been included here, as well as four rare tunes from 1959 and 1962 that complete Ella and Paich's collaborative recordings prior to 1966. Includes 12-page booklet. Essential Jazz Classics. 2010.
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According to the liner notes, the disc is made by "Essential Jazz Classics" (Disc No. EJC55470) and is a remake of Verve MGVS6029, possibly with some extra tracks added.
The CD track set gives us all the songs from the record album entitled Ella Swings Lightly along with four bonus tracks. The first number, entitled "Little White Lies," features Ella swinging very gently as she sings with all her heart and soul. The arrangement uses the piano, percussion and horns to bolster the number. The romantic flavor of this number belies the somewhat melancholy lyrics. Awesome! "You Hit The Spot" continues with Ella singing at her very best. "You Hit The Spot" has a faster tempo and Ella never misses a beat. Ella's jazzy rendition of "You Hit The Spot" shines; her excellent diction and vocal athletics work very, very well. The horns and percussion work well in Marty Paich's musical arrangement, too.
"What's Your Story, Morning Glory?" starts with some great horns; and when Ella comes in you know you're in for a real treat! Ella's voice is rich, warm and vibrant. She sings of a woman who loves a man who she suspects doesn't truly love her in return. Ella handles a few quick key changes without any trouble; and this impresses me greatly. "Just You, Just Me" picks up the tempo once more to energize this high octane number about two lovers spending time alone. Ella scats, sings and even weaves the two together in a performance that also showcases her ability to romp quickly through the octaves. "Just You, Just Me" will stun you completely.
Other gems on this CD include "As Long As I Live;" the percussion, horns and piano shine while Ella sings sweetly. "Gotta Be This Or That" lets Ella sing this famous number with a sublime jazzy rendition that makes Ella's interpretation THE definite interpretation of "Gotta Be This Or That." Love that jazzy musical interlude with the horns! "Blues In The Night" has Ella attacking a classic jazz ballad about the trouble a man can cause to a woman who loves him. This somewhat cynical ballad gets the royal treatment from Ella. She sings "Blues In The Night" flawlessly with a few quick tempo changes and just a bit of scatting to make this number special. "You're An Old Smoothie" has Ella singing sweetly as she swings rather gently. Ella also does just a few vocal tricks to enhance her performance all the more.
"720 In The Books" swings well and Ella picks up the tempo to inject this number with electricity. Marty Paich's arrangement makes good use of the horns and piano. Indeed, Ella's vocals and Marty Paich's arrangement complement each other very well. "720 In The Books" provided a strong ending for the record album.
The CD format gives us space for bonus tracks--and we get four of them! The long version of "Oh, What A Night For Love" starts with some great horns; and Ella performs this romantic, slower paced ballad really well. Ella jumps throughout the octaves just a bit to enhance the number, too. Stunning! "Dreams Are Made For Children" gives us a tender lullaby type of ballad; Ella handles this with panache and all the sensitivity a lullaby deserves. The gorgeous melody somewhat hides the bittersweet mention of her hope that her child never grows up because their naïveté will be crushed.
The CD's last bonus track is the shorter single version of "Oh, What A Night For Love." Ella's vocals remain squarely in the spotlight throughout the single version of "Oh, What A Night For Love." Great!
The liner notes include the song credits and James Gavin contributes an informative essay about Ella and the making of this album. The photos of Ella are very nicely done.
Ella Fitzgerald remains a titan in the entertainment world--and rightly so, too. On this CD alone, we hear her scat, sing, sway, and perform numerous vocal gymnastics that only the very best of the best could ever accomplish. Ella left behind her a nearly endless musical legacy that will forever remind us of her talent that knew no limits. Ella enriched all our lives with her artistry; and aspiring artists would do well to study her work.
I highly recommend this CD for Ella's fans; and people who enjoy classic pop vocals will love this CD. If you like classic jazz vocals you won't be disappointed either.
Marty Paich's Dek-tette is a magnificent and brilliantly arranged band (I've heard it work brilliantly with Mel Torme), quite compatible with the Ella's deliverance: at first glance light and relaxed, but often showing her virtuoso abilities - not only in faster (or scatting on Roy Eldridge's and Buster Harding's "Little Jazz") numbers.
It is actually quite interesting how this collection of 30s and 40s swing and Tin Pan Alley hits/standards manages to be swinging and modern (i.e. - cool) at the same time. This combination (with Ella giving one of her best performances I've heard so far) works magnificently and, I suppose, it is not only interesting for jazz fans; I feel this is a great album for fans of sophisticated classic American pop and pop/swing (Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr.)... The subtle feel for rhythm and gentle emotions on some tracks might remind you of Johnny Hartman-John Coltrane collaboration, other tracks are reminiscent of Ella-Basie collaborations...
This is recorded in 1958, originally issued in 1959 LP and, yes, this CD has some very welcome bonus tracks.
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