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Baldwin Street Music has come out with another set of previously unavailable material by a top jazz vocalist. This album caputures Ella Fitzgerald's broadcasts from New York City jazz venues, mostly from Birdland. During this period, Fitzgerald was recording for Decca usually backed by a big orchestra headed by such stalwarts as Sy Oliver and Gordon Jenkins as well as an occasional side trip with Louis Jordan. The last recording on this album in August of 1955 was just before Fitzgerald went with Norman Granz to embark upon her Songbook series. This was to emblazon her name forever as one of the great song stylists of all times.
<>The play list mixed. There's the classic material that became staples during her long recording and performing career like "In a Mellotone", "Goody Goody" and "These Foolish Things". She has fun with the lyrics, as on "How High the Moon", which she continued to do throughout her career. But this album also captures Fitzgerald's efforts to cover some of the top pop singles of the day notably Johnny Ray's Walkin' My Baby Back Home and Doris Day's Be Anything, But Be Mine. This was popular with the audience and they actually stopped talking enough to listen. When Fitzgerald did one of those ballads she was noted for, the audience reverted to the New York addiction to talking during the performance. She also worked in her friendly spoofing of Louis Armstrong adopting his mannerisms for Frim Fram Sauce. Air Mail Special is the vehicle for that special Fitzgerald scatting. On most of the tracks, she is backed on the piano by master accompanist, Hank Jones, along with husband Ray Brown on bass.
These broadcasts were recorded by Boris Rose on an early tape machine. Baldwin Street Music engineer Doug Pomeroy did a remarkable job transferring this material eliminating surface noise without affecting the music. The result is excellent sound that captures the flavor of Fitzgerald's performances. As always, Ted Ono's liner notes are informative and interesting. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: Old Mother Hubbard; These Foolish Things; In A Mellow Tone; Flying Home; Back in Your Own Backyard; Jumping with Symphony Sid; How High the Moon; Show Me the Way to Get Out of This World; Angel Eyes; Walkin' My Baby Back Home; Goody Goody; Air Mail Special; How High the Moon; It's only a Paper Moon; Be Anything, But Be Mine; Preview; You're Driving Me Crazy; Lemon Drop; Frim Fram Sauce; Imagination; How Long Has This Been Going On?; Someone to Watch over Me; Jumping with Symphony Sid; I Can't Get Started with You; Later; That old Black Magic
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald - Vocals; Hank Jones, Raymond Tunia, Don Abney - Piano; Ray Brown, Sandy Block, Nelson Boyd, Clyde Lombardi; Bass - Charles Smith, Jimmy Crawford, Roy Haynes - Drums; Terry Gibbs - Vibes; Don Elliot - Mellophone