Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis Again (2003)
The first two tracks set the tone for the rest of the set, playful renditions of “Don’t Be That Way” and “Makin’ Whoopie” tailor-made for the Ella and Louis treatment. The highlight is a wistful “Autumn In New York” with a lovely vocal by Ella and a trumpet solo by Louisalthough by this time Louis was playing solos the matched people's expectations of what Louis sounded like, rather than bringing anything new to the table. The only misfire is “Let’s Do It,” which drags on much too long.
The second disc is slightly better than the first, due to the melancholy ballads “Willow Weep For Me” (all Armstrong) and “Ill Wind” (all Ella) and a duet on “Our Love is Here to Stay,” where Armstrong’s trumpet solo pokes through Ella’s graceful phrasing. The Oscar Peterson trio (joined by the fiery Louis Bellson) provides understated backing throughout, Peterson keeping his feistiness in check while Ellis delivers punchy chords, playing the best rhythm guitar of his career. Although calling this a jazz album is a bit of a stretch, anyone who is a fan of either of these two artists (or jazz singing for that matter) will definitely want to check this one out.
Track Listing: Disc One: 1. Don
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald-vocals; Louis Armstrong-vocals, trumpet; Oscar Peterson-piano; Herb Ellis-guitar; Ray Brown-bass; Louis Bellson-drums.
Record Label: Verve Music Group