"Ella's voice was never warmer or more flexible, and her emotional involvement with lyric content, the least dependable facet of her art, proved much more penetrating than usual. Louis' singing radiated depth and sensitivity and his trumpet chops were strong and assured." ~ Joel L. Siegel ~
I have always enjoyed compilations from Verve Jazz Masters Series and this one is not an exception. "Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong" is one of the best in the series. It contains a dozen of well-loved standards interpreted in duet settings by two of the greatest jazz icons in the music world who need no introduction, Ella and Louis. An added attraction to this set is the presence of an inimitable and admirable rhythmic trio - Oscar Peterson on piano, Ray Brown on bass and Herb Ellis on guitar, with special participation of two of the most remarkable drummers the jazz world has ever known, Louis Bellson and Buddy Rich.
This compilation was taken from two albums that were recorded between 1956 and 1957 at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and produced by Norman Granz of Verve Records, Ella and Louis
and Ella & Louis Again (Dig)
. It is written on Liner Notes by Joel L. Siegel that jazz writer and critic Nat Hentoff predicted in 1956 that Ella and Louis
was one of the very, very few albums to have been issued in that era of the LP flood that is sure to endure for decades. After fifty-some years, the album is still making waves among jazz fans. And that confirmed his prophecy.
On all tracks, Ella sings, and Louis sings and plays trumpet. For huge fans of these two jazz icons who already owned the aforementioned albums, this set is not new to them, however, it is still a worthy addition to any jazz collection considering that the best tracks from the two albums were compiled to make this set a great listening experience.
Ella's vocal artistry is as charming as ever and Louis' voice is so unique and his trumpet playing is very articulate and spontaneous. They both belong to the category of singers-of-a-rare-form. They both bring brilliance and grace to this stellar collection. On the entire set, they are cool and confident as they give their sublime readings of heartfelt lyrics and enchanting music of all the songs most especially my all-time favorites "Moonlight In Vermont," "Our Love Is Here To Stay," "Tenderly," "April In Paris," "Learnin' The Blues" and "Isn't This A Lovely Day."
You can't go wrong with this Verve Jazz Masters superb compilation - it is a worthy listen to all vocal jazz fans. Treat yourself with some of the most artful and compelling duet recordings of all-time.
With my heartfelt recommendation for your listening pleasure.