Ella Fitzgerald

Miss Ella Fitzgerald and Mr. Gordon Jenkins Invite You to Listen and Relax

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Responding to the demand for mood music albums in 1958, Decca put together an LP of ballads and things that Ella Fitzgerald recorded in tandem with Decca's all-purpose music director Gordon Jenkins when he was riding high in the early '50s. Fitzgerald could invoke a few jazz inflections here and there, particularly on a bluesy rendition of "Black Coffee," but she is asked mostly to play the role of a white-bread pop crooner. All of Jenkins' harmonic, big-band, orchestral and choral trademarks are in full play here, evoking the cozy ambience of postwar suburbia as completely as anyone did in those days. As a period piece, it is very enlightening, but Fitzgerald's best Decca work lay elsewhere.

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