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Mack the Knife: The Complete Ella in Berlin Live
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Top Customer Reviews
Listening to this CD, the obvious highlight is the oft talked about title track, "Mack the Knife", where Ella forgot the lyrics a minute into the song and made up the rest of the words without skipping a beat and perfectly improvising to the song's melody a la Fitzgerald. It's a miraculous feat that has entered the jazz hall of fame and folklore as one of the greatest moments not only in jazz, but in music history. "Mack the Knife" solidified Fitzgerald's standing in the music biz for the rest of her life, helping her escape the shadow of overwhelming sentiment and praise for Billie Holiday after Lady's premature death from a lifetime of drug and emotional abuse. The other great track here is the 8-minute track "How High the Moon" that Ella scats with a frenetic, pulsating charm that leaves you breathless at the finish line.
But aside from these two standout tracks, the rest of the CD isn't all that memorable. The marvels of modern CD technology has unmasked a detected fatigue in Ella's voice that she somehow cannot hide. Maybe it was the killer tour schedule (mentioned in liner notes) that did her in, but it's definitely noticeable. If you're mostly curious about the two great tracks, "Mack the Knife" and "How High the Moon", I would recommend purchasing those tracks elsewhere on many of Ella's compilations (Compact Jazz on Verve being one).Read more ›
Ella's voice is truly nonpareil, and while I wasn't immediately in love with every song on the album, the legendary Mack the Knife, Too Darn Hot, The Lady is a Tramp, and How High the Moon kept me playing it again and again.
Many years later, I love every single song and this is still my favorite of my Ella cds (and I have a lot of them!), the one I play the most. It puts me in a good mood every time.
Her crystalline voice is always spectacular, but in a live setting, as pointed out by others, her creativity and scatting ascend to stellar heights. And there's an added quality of warmth in her voice not captured on studio recordings.
When I was in high school (30 years ago?), I had the chance to meet Ms. Fitzgerald. She was truly a gracious woman, and, as another reviewer pointed out, so truly humble in the face of her awesome talent. When I told her I listened to Mack the Knife every night before I went to bed, she said, "Don't do that, honey, it'll give you nightmares," and said she was also happy to hear when young people enjoyed her music.
I am listening to How High the Moon right now. Amazing.
If you haven't heard this cd, you are not just missing out on a legendary album and piece of music history, but a wonderful and joyous listening experience.
Love this CD!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
haven't received as yet and anxiously awaiting Ella's adlib on Mack the Knife. Heard it on satellite radio and was reason it was purchased. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Being a recent Ella convert, I was naturally intrigued to hear this legendary performance and purchased “The Complete Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife.” I was not disappointed. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ricardo Mio
I have a lot of her work. the return to berlin was great. this one knocks me out! to me it's Janis Joplin, then ella fitzgerald, followed by billie holiday & Bessie smith.Published 18 months ago by martelee
A real collectors item. I grew up on this music. Very goodPublished on July 24, 2014 by clancy mcclanahan
What can I say? It's a super performance, great CD. I recommend it highlly. Also, packed well and came as seller said it would.Published on March 17, 2014 by SLA
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