Ella Fitzgerald / Oscar Peterson

Ella & Oscar

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Although Ella Fitzgerald worked in many different settings, from big bands to guitar-and-voice duets to sets with nearly every piano player in the business (from Duke Ellington on down), one could make a case that her best recordings were made with Oscar Peterson and his small bands. Released in 1976, Ella and Oscar is one of those classic recordings, an album that's as spare and intimate as any that the pair ever issued. In fact, the only other performer featured on this set is Peterson's longtime bassist Ray Brown, whose contributions are minimal. These songs, from the mellifluous "Mean to Me" to a languid "April in Paris," are simple and beautiful.

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