Between the years 1956 and 1964, Ella Fitzgerald recorded a number of song books. These full sets of music, featuring the work of such major composers as Cole Porter and the Gershwin Brothers, form a major cornerstone of her recorded legacy. Made available on a two-disc set for the first time, The Irving Berlin Song Book features 32 chestnuts performed by the great lady of song and backed discreetly by the Paul Weston Orchestra. This sleeper might be the least well known among the series, yet it hits an agreeable and definitely likeable spot and also benefits from the use of a talented rhythm section (Paul Smith, Barney Kessel, Joe Mondragon, and Alvin Stoller) and such star soloists as Harry “Sweets” Edison, Matty Matlock, and Juan Tizol.
With an assured delivery and effortless swing, Fitzgerald presents definitive performances and their lasting appeal comes through piquantly on this smartly packaged set. A good deal of the numbers have fallen from popular appeal, but such classics as “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “How Deep Is the Ocean?” and “Blue Skies” mix well with the lesser known items. Enough said here; this is top-notch Ella material and well worth a listen.
Track Listing: DISC ONE Let's Face the Music and Dance, You're Laughing at Me, Let Yourself Go, You Can Have Him, Russian Lullaby, Puttin' On the Ritz, Get Thee Behind Me, Satan, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails, How About Me?, Cheek to Cheek, I Used to Be Color Blind, Lazy, How Deep Is the Ocean?, All by Myself, (You Forgot to) Remember DISC TWO Supper Time, How's Chances?, Heat Wave, Isn't This a Lovely Day, You Keep Coming Back Like a Song, Reaching for the Moon, (Let's Go) Slumming on Park Avenue, The Song Is Ended, I'm Puttin' All My Eggs in One Basket, Now It Can Be Told, Always, It's a Lovely Day, Today, Change Partners, No Strings (I'm Fancy Free), I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, Blue Skies
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocal)with Paul Weston's orchestra (collective personnel): J. Best, P. Candoli, Sweets Edison, D. Fagerquist, M. Klein (trumpet), E. Kusby, D. Noel, W. Schaefer (trombone), J. Tizol (valve trombone) G. Cipriano, C. Gentry, L. Hartman, M. Matlock, T. Nash, B. Russin, F. Stulce (woodwinds), Paul Smith (piano), Barney Kessel(guitar), Joe Mondragon & Jack Ryan (bass), Alvin Stoller (drums), Weston (arranger, conductor)