The Absolutely Essential 3CD Collection

Ella Fitzgerald

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The Absolutely Essential 3CD Collection Review

by Thom Jurek

Compiled and manufactured by Universal in the EC, this triple-disc box collects 60 of Ella Fitzgerald's best-known recordings made for Verve and Decca during her long career. While not big on serious notes for the collector, this is for the music fan who doesn’t give a whit about critical platitudes, but is far more interested in music -- and lots of it. The early sides such as “Love and Kisses” and the original version of “A Tisket A Tasket,” as well as “Oh, Lady Be Good” on disc one, are underscored by signature readings of “Bewitched,” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” the irony and fingerpoppin’ swing in “The Lady Is aTramp,” and deeply rendered ballads like “Blue Moon,” and “An Empty Ballroom" on disc two. The final disc contains the truly legendary performances of “Being the Beguine,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” “Summertime,” “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good" (with Duke Ellington), and of course, “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” These are just a few of the tracks in this treasure trove that was compiled aesthetically rather than chronologically. The music has been remastered and sounds terrific. By not wasting a lot of time and money on packaging, this set is very attractively priced, making it all but indispensable for any fan of Fitzgerald’s, not just the connoisseur.

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