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Mack the Knife: The Complete Ella in Berlin
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It entered into jazz lore when, at this 1960 Berlin concert, Ella forgot the words to Mack the Knife ; she improvised her way out of it in an inventive way that amazed even herself!
A 43-year-old Ella rolls through her typical routine in feisty fashion on this 1960 recording, which documents the opening show of her European tour. There's the Satchmo impersonation (a joyous "Mack the Knife"), the lengthy scat showcase ("How High the Moon," on which she quotes Charlie Parker's "Ornithology"), and a bevy of Gershwin and Porter tunes. Supported by pianist Paul Smith's quartet (with the elegant Jim Hall on guitar), Ella's voice sounds earthier than usual and her phrasing is as appealing as ever. She's sublimely tender on "Misty" and wonderfully sultry on "Too Darn Hot." The CD reissue includes two unreleased tracks from the Berlin concert plus two 1956 gems (including a stylish "Love for Sale") that were mistakenly pressed on this release. Upon its initial release, the album picked up two Grammies and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Pop chart; its acclaim was well deserved. --Marc Greilsamer
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Love this CD!
Ella also sings Mack the Knife an unusual song for a woman and she explains that she had only recently learned the song. It is quickly apparent that she has not had enough time to learn the song and forgets the words therefore improvising lyrics on the spot.
It is also very apparent that Ella loved to sing. She had great humour and enjoyed entertaining folk.
If you have to own one Ella album then it should be this. This is her Something Kind of Blue. A classic album from a bygone era.
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