Ella Fitzgerald / Louis Armstrong

Ella & Louis Again

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Recorded in 1957, Ella & Louis Again re-teams Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong after the success of their first album and a popular series of concerts at the Hollywood Bowl the previous year. Stylistically, Fitzgerald and Armstrong had very different histories; he started out in Dixieland before branching out into classic jazz and swing, whereas Fitzgerald started out as a swing-oriented big-band vocalist before becoming an expert bebopper. But the two of them have no problem finding common ground on Ella & Louis Again, which is primarily a collection of vocal duets (with the backing of a solid rhythm section led by pianist Oscar Peterson). One could nitpick about the fact that Satchmo doesn't take more trumpet solos, but the artists have such a strong rapport as vocalists that the trumpet shortage is only a minor point. Seven selections find either Fitzgerald or Armstrong singing without the other, although they're together more often than not on this fine set.

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