221

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis Again

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis Again It should come as no surprise that the first collaboration between Ella and Louis was so successful that it was quickly followed by a sequel—and a double album, no less. Even the dumbest A&R man could anticipate the potential magic in the pairing; both singers were at the peak of their popularity in 1957, straying from their jazz roots yet becoming influential and noteworthy interpreters of popular song in the process. Both share a penchant for mirthful clowning and light banter, yet Armstrong’s burnished growl and Ella’s brassy swagger couldn’t be more different and still complement each other superbly. Make no mistake, this is clearly a vocal album—the only solos are Armstrong’s, and they’re few and far between—yet the music choices and delivery are enough to sustain the entire package.

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 Louis—although 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.


See the Combing the Verve Catalog column for related reviews.
Visit Verve on the web.


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.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Verve Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Father Figure" CD/LP/Track Review Father Figure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 3, 2016
Read "Mu" CD/LP/Track Review Mu
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Black Shuck" CD/LP/Track Review Black Shuck
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!