Ella Fitzgerald


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The 13th installment in the Classics Ella Fitzgerald chronology documents her recording activity during a period extending from early January to late November 1952. The two opening tracks constitute a veritable scat fest with accompaniment by the Ray Charles Singers and a small band anchored by organist Bill Doggett and pianist Hank Jones. The next nine titles document Fitzgerald's continuing collaborations with bandleader Sy Oliver. Matt Dennis' ballad "Angel Eyes" is rendered beautifully, even if it is nestled among silly titles like "Goody Goody," "A Guy Is a Guy," and "Ding-Dong Boogie," a rowdy novelty better suited for Teresa Brewer; it benefits greatly from a gutbucket sax solo by Sam "The Man" Taylor. Accompanied by Bobby Orton's Teen-Aces, Ella makes her own stunning "Contribution to the Blues," revives Una Mae Carlisle's magnum opus "Walking by the River," and presents "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" as a West Indian dance number bristling with bongos and conga drums. This was not Ella's first venture into Caribbean territory; her infamous calypso outing "Stone Cold Dead in the Market," recorded with Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5 during the mid-'40s, is still a force with which to be reckoned (see 1945-1947, Classics 998). Throughout her tenure as a Decca recording artist, Fitzgerald demonstrated an uncanny ability to sing anything; she would convert weak material into good stuff or transform great songs into masterpieces. It is now known that during the early '50s producer Norman Granz "harshly criticized" the A&R management at Decca Records for consistently handing Ella Fitzgerald patently inferior material and sometimes teaming her up with musicians who were either not in her league or were incapable of tuning in to her wavelength. Until this vocalist's Decca contract expired, Granz could only include her in his touring Jazz at the Philharmonic package (those concert performances were assiduously recorded in their entirety for later release) while making plans for their eventual studio collaborations, which would include the multiple great American composer Song Book projects.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:02 Amazon
2 3:14 Amazon
3 2:52 Amazon
4 3:08 Amazon
5 3:09 Amazon
6 2:23 Amazon
7 2:56 Amazon
8 3:12 Amazon
9 2:41 Amazon
10 2:27 Amazon
11 3:13 Amazon
12 3:03 Amazon
2:58 Amazon
14 2:14 Amazon
15 2:16 Amazon
16 2:32 Amazon
17 2:49 Amazon
18 2:28 Amazon
2:56 Amazon
20 3:01 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick