Ella Fitzgerald

Standards: Great Songs/Great Performances

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Ella Fitzgerald was quite a standards singer, as is understood by anyone who ever studied or even trifled with what is commonly known as the Great American Songbook. Her series of composer tributes, recorded between 1956 and 1964, set the bar at a superhuman height, and naturally has never been equaled. This very lean compilation from Verve showcases her talent with eight tracks, not all of them from the songbooks and not even all from Verve. (The opener is a well-chosen version of "Dream a Little Dream of Me" originally recorded for Decca in 1950 with one Louis Armstrong helping out; also, the version of "How Long Has This Been Going On?" comes from a non-thematic 1960 LP with Frank DeVol arrangements.) The half-hour runtime is only going to make listeners want to purchase more, but the music cannot be argued with. "Somebody Loves Me" captures the surprise and wonder of first love, and the disc ends superbly with her warm, soft reading of "I've Got a Crush on You" with a classic Nelson Riddle arrangement.

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