Echoes of Ella

Gary Motley

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Echoes of Ella Review

by Ken Dryden

Gary Motley recorded a series of solo piano tributes to great vocalists and jazz composers during the late 1990s. This salute to Ella Fitzgerald features a dozen songs associated with her, but Motley's intention was not to simply swing them in the way he might have if he had the opportunity to accompany her, but to approach each song with a lyrical touch, usually in a ruminating mood. As a result, they sound a little more reserved than one might expect from a jazz musician, though Motley achieves his goal. He does loosen up a bit more with his medium stride approach to "Makin' Whoopee" and "My One and Only Love," which brings out the beauty of these songs, and which is often obscured when played at a faster tempo. Sadly, this and the other releases in this series are all out of print due to the demise of Intersound.

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