Ella Fitzgerald

Ella at Duke's Place

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Ella Fitzgerald's second studio session with Duke Ellington followed her first (Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book) by eight years. The underrated set begins quietly with four emotional ballads (who else could hold their own with Johnny Hodges on "Passion Flower?") before Fitzgerald gets to scat a bit on the closing vamp of "Azure," comes up with fresh ideas on "Duke's Place," and closes the show by scatting up a storm on "Cotton Tail." The band makes its presence known in the ensembles, some solos by tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, altoist Hodges and trumpeter Cootie Williams (whose opening spot on "Duke's Place" is quite jubilant), and the high-note trumpet of Cat Anderson. Ella Fitzgerald is heard in peak form throughout this date. Recommended.

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