Twelve Nights in Hollywood Box set, Original recording remastered
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a case of more profitable material, a wealth of studio recordings, crowding out excellent performances that could have been hits. Alas, producer Norman Granz blundered by issuing only a single poorly-selected and poorly-mastered album that flopped commercially.
The tapes sank into the vaults and stayed there until jazz researcher Phil Schaap dug into the archives in 1988. He found more than a dozen hours of California recordings along with unheard live sets recorded in Rome and Chicago in 1958. At that point, Verve released a single CD, "Ella in Rome," which was a huge success, but then the label got busy with rereleases of her songbook series.
Finally, this year, Richard Seidel, the producer of this boxed set, listened to the tapes and decided to assemble four CDs containing 76 songs both swinging and sentimental. Ella is a joy throughout: creative and playful in her phrasing and scatting, by turns relaxed and spirited in her mood. She even succeeds at the blues, a form she was not particularly known for.
What are you waiting for? This is a glorious find and an essential acquisition for the Fitzgerald fan.
That said, this is Ella at her young, strong best. Vocals are lively and "clear as a bell", with strong, precise performances by her sidemen. Beautifully recorded and remastered, this is an intimate club date with the kind of dimension you just can't get in the studio (and quality you can't get on MP3).
And then there's Ella. She simply knocks 'em dead. She even slay me, all these decades after these recordings were made. Her voice is at its peek. She's groovin' and her band is groovin' right along with her. The song lineup will not surprise any of her loyal fans, but Ella is a real singer, so no matter how many times she sings Mack the Knife, (Give Me) The Simple Life, or Lorelie, the songs are always fresh and swinging. Naturally, she does mess up. Frankly, I was looking forward to the mistakes, for Ella's mistakes are when music, spirit join into one big swinging party. Listen to her stumbling through the lyrics of the song Candy, which was made popular by Big Maybelle, and that Ella magic is sprinkled all over that song the same way Ella does with Mack the Knife. Then there's the Ella chatter, that's what gives this box set its special charm. Wisely, the producer did not cut it, as with some of her other concert CDs. I LOVED IT!
All I can say is that if there was a way to rate this box seet more than 5 stars I would. I do know that I have played this set, all 4 CDs, and listen to it in one sitting! So, get it, sit down with a nice drink or glass of wine, sit back and enjoy. It don't get any better than this!
One of the most-played albums in my collection is "Sarah Vaughan at Mr. Kelly's," which now is likely to get some competition from this new Ella set. Even though Ella is slightly more relaxed and informal than the live recordings done in epic-scale venues--the Opera House, the Rome and Berlin (Mack the Knife) concerts, the Hollywood Bowl and Los Angeles Civic Auditorium recordings--the energy level might be described as "without governors." She's swinging harder than ever yet, as usual, is able to bring it down instantly for those mellow, intimate ballads. As for some of the carping about this collection, it's hard to be sympathetic with the complainers after hearing the quality of the music. The audio is good enough to put me in the actual audience's space, right down in front, where Ella's voice, the distinct notes of the walking bass, the zing of the cymbals and chic of the hi-hat are equally clear. True, it's not quite the equal of a "more perfect" studio recording, which would probably tone down the rhythm section and throw away the moments when the mic momentarily distorts or picks up a few unwanted sibilants.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ella is lone of my favorites, but she bpmbed on this one.Published 16 months ago by Bennett I. Bardfeld
The jazz label Verve has once again sought their huge archives and has great tapes unearthed. In a deluxe CD edition presents VERVE - founded by Norman Granz in the fifties - 76... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Werner Matrisch
it is just lovely. Would listen to it again and again while on a slow boat to China.Published 17 months ago by Chris M
This is beyond accurate description. Utterly magnificent in every way: tone, phrasing, diction, repertoire. Read morePublished 18 months ago by daniel
Every track on this huge set is just amazing! I wish I could have heard her live.Published 20 months ago by Waters