Ella Fitzgerald

1951-1952 Decca Recordings

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Ella Fitzgerald once admitted, very modestly, that she stole everything she heard, especially from the horns. Although her clear vocal talent and immense interpretive skills squashed such a pithy concern as originality, her early-'50s Decca period was a mishmash of styles and arrangements that Fitzgerald only triumphed over with a struggle. The best of them are excellent, however, and many sides on this fine Disconforme collection show her trumpeting her voice in ways the brass section would really appreciate. Backed by top arranger Sy Oliver's ever-resourceful orchestra, she shines on the exuberant "Hot Canary" and the soothingly swinging "Smooth Sailing." For "Air Mail Special," Fitzgerald turns in one of her finest scat performances in front of husband Ray Brown's tough-swinging bop small group. Her ballad work on "Angel Eyes" is exemplary too, but it's with light bop pieces like "Give a Little, Get a Little" and "Preview" that this material really shines. Her last years at Decca marked a halfway point -- midway between her first brush with bop in the mid-'40s and her artistic peak at Verve with the mid-'50s songbooks -- but her irrepressible artistic spirit made much of it sound like pure genius.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:17
2 3:11
3 3:17
4 3:06
feat: Sy Oliver
feat: Sy Oliver
feat: Sy Oliver
8 3:03
9 2:54
10 3:07
11 2:25
12 5:12
13 2:56
14 2:33
15 3:15
16 2:26
17 3:02
blue highlight denotes track pick