Ella Fitzgerald

Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book

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Ella Fitzgerald's outstanding songbook series has become an institution unto itself. This 1957 effort is distinguished from Fitzgerald's other songbooks in that it is the only album in which the composer whose work she is singing actively participates. In fact, these recordings are packed with some of the key figures in 20th century jazz. As if Ella and Duke weren't enough, Ellington's arranger/composer Billy Strayhorn, guest musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson, and brilliant record producer Norman Granz all have a hand in the proceedings. And what better backing band could one want than Duke's orchestra? The usual suspects -- Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney, and Sam Woodyard, among others -- contribute fine performances throughout. Duke's spectacular catalog dazzles, and his sprightly, lush textures are transfigured under Fitzgerald's warm-timbred voice and elegant, precise delivery. Included here are classics like "Rockin' in Rhythm," "Caravan," "Satin Doll," "Sophisticated Lady," "Prelude to a Kiss," and "It Don't Mean a Thing...," each tune as familiar as it is delightful to hear in this new context.

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