Ella Fitzgerald / Chick Webb

Ella Sings, Chick Swings

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This aptly titled compilation covers the earliest years of Ella Fitzgerald's professional career. In 1937, the 17-year-old Fitzgerald joined the orchestra of Chick Webb, a good-timey swing musician. Her distinctive voice--girlishly enthusiastic but with a certain mature charm that only intensified as she got older--quickly became the band's primary feature, and after only a few years, Fitzgerald left Webb to lead her own band.

Though brief, this budget-priced 10-track compilation is made up of music that is nothing short of brilliant. The flirty swing standard "Oh Johnny" rarely sounded as coquettish as it did in Fitzgerald's capable hands, and novelties like "Digga Digga Doo" and "I Want the Waiter With the Water" are enjoyably silly fun. ELLA SINGS AND CHICK SWINGS is a fine introduction to Fitzgerald's early days.

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