Ella Fitzgerald

Twelve Nights in Hollywood, Vols. 1-2

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Verve originally released Ella Fitzgerald's Twelve Nights in Hollywood, drawn from performances at the Crescendo nightclub in 1961 and 1962, as a four-CD set in 2009. Now, the collection has been repackaged as two two-CD sets. On these first two discs, Fitzgerald is her usual spirited self, singing and scatting before a four-piece jazz band and an audience that seems both enthusiastic and, at times, inattentive. The singer asks for quiet at one point in introducing "‘Round Midnight," declaring that she's tired of fighting and, after she finishes the slow ballad, tells her listeners that they can now go back to their usual behavior as she begins a scat-filled showcase on "Take the ‘A' Train." But that doesn't prevent her, during "I Can't Get Started," from making fun of the talkers by saying, "Yak, yak, yak." The noise isn't as apparent on the discs as it may have been in the room, however, and Fitzgerald turns in a set full of favorites, perhaps because, as she notes several times, she is trying to satisfy requests that have been made from her listeners. The result is a lengthy collection of 35 songs even including, near the end, "one of the number one hit songs," as Fitzgerald puts it in introducing Rodgers & Hart's "Blue Moon," which actually had just topped the charts in a doo wop revival by the Marcels.

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