Ella Fitzgerald's most eclectic and stylish LP, Things Ain't What They Used to Be is a delightful mosaic of contemporary soul hits, perennial standards, and bossa nova numbers that capture the full breadth of the singer's genius. Produced by Norman Granz and arranged by Gerald Wilson, the album follows on the heels of the full-blown pop session Ella, adopting a similarly groove-oriented contextual approach but drawing on a more diverse pool of material -- evergreens like "Black Coffee," "Tuxedo Junction," and the sublime "Don't Dream of Anyone but Me" are made fresh and new, revitalized by Wilson's deeply soulful arrangements and Fitzgerald's breathtaking vocal acrobatics. Hits including "Sunny" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" are no less rewarding -- Fitzgerald's command of the songs is absolute, adding wrinkles and nuances the hit versions never imagined.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny