Ella is terrific, and this collection showcases her virtuosity. If you're looking for virtuoso vocal work, look no further and buy this!
But I find this set - and some of Fitzgerald's other collections - a little frustrating. Don't get me wrong - it's easy to cull a very, very nice iPod playlist from these songs.
But if you specifically want to listen to great interpretations of great songs, there's quite a bit of filler here. It seems that quite a few of Ella's performances become "about the singer and the singing" rather than remaining true to the substance of the songs. "Mack the Knife" is, of course, a famous case in point as Ella replaces forgotten verses with an improvised commentary on the fact that she has forgotten them. But too many of the songs on this collection follow a similar path: the core of many of the songs are replaced by demonstrations of vocal skill, and large chunks of lyrical content are shunned, only to be replaced by Ella's (admittedly excellent) scat - or by sung descriptions of singing. Enough I say!
In summary: If you're looking for documentation around one of the greatest live-show singers of all-time, then this is a nice document. If, however, you're looking for magnificent delivery of magnificent songs - where the songs are truly revered - I'd have to suggest that this package - and quite a bit of Ella's material - comes up a little short. And that's the criteria on which I like to make my purchases. I hope this helps your selection, and ultimately: this is a collection that includes some awesome interpretations of awesome songs.