Pure jewels, the recordings in this boxed set. Pity it isn't available anymore (except in MP3 format...): I had to buy it second hand. The CD's are put in beautiful replica's of the original LP jackets and boxes, but without plastic inner sleeves (the Beatles mono boxed set has those!), so I had to take the CD's out and put them in separate slim line cases. You know... paper and cardboard jackets/sleeves are very harsh to CD surfaces, scratching them as if they were paid for it. Ella's performances, the orchestra's performances, the orchestral arrangments, the beautifully bound liner notes booklet (same color/texture as the box itself)... all top notch. Most of the music (lots of songs from classical musical comedies) could be called "easy listening", except the Ellington recordings, which are closer to "hot jazz". Overall, THE reference for singers on the one hand, and a collection from which you can pick whatever disk to put in your CD player on a rainy or otherwise sad day and get through that day much easier on the other hand... I would have liked to give it six stars, but I'm not allowed to.
Well done Amazon. Thank you so much for the boxed set of Ella Fitzgerald's songbook. I can state quite truthfully that it is about the best collection of Ella's great american song books that i have heard.From Gershwin and Berlin to Mercer and on to Duke Ellington what a wonderful set, and the delivery was spot on time,again many thanks.
This is a collection of many previous Ella recordings, boxed together in a beautiful raspberry linen container. Her voice is pure and her superb musicianship is on glorious display. The arrangements complement her voice beautifully. A great purchase.
I recently realized that my Ella collection was lacking in almost anything having to do with the songbooks series. So I splurged and bought a copy of the complete songbooks. And it's a revelation. Rarely do I find anything in jazz, or music more generally, that induces that reaction at this point.
But these recordings do.
The songs are a revelation - many that I recognize but many more that are new, simply because the collection is so comprehensive. Ella's singing is a revelation - her tone, diction, timing, presentation... basically everything about her performances are indicative of a singer who is not only incredible, but is also at the peak of her talents. And the background instrumentation is a revelation - in many vocal recordings, the background performances are weak, but here, they are uniformly lovely, not intruding on the songs but providing exactly the appropriate accompaniment.
If you're a fan of this type of music, buy these recordings. If you're a fan of Ella, buy these recordings. If you just want to experience a high point in American popular music, buy these recordings. As I said earlier, it's rare that I go "Wow!!" when listening to something these days, but these recordings generated that response from me. And that type of reaction - the oh-my-gosh response - is one of the true joys of listening to music, isn't experienced often, and can't be valued when it is.
If you haven't already pressed the One Click button, it must be the spectacular price of this set that's giving you pause. I understand, I've been there. I pondered the collection for years. I knew I wanted it but couldn't help wondering if mere CDs were worth the steep admission. I finally threw caution to the wind a few months ago and ordered. And you know what? The cost was trivial. I haven't looked back since cracking the shrink wrap on the cloth-covered box. If anything, I regret waiting to take the plunge. I could continue stringing together superlatives, but to what end? If you're an Ella fan, buy this set.