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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




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Ella Fitzgerald

1973

Columbia Jazz SMM5096 182

 

  1. I’ve Got to Be Me
  2. Good Morning Heartache
  3. Some of These Days
  4. Miss Otis Regrets
  5. You Turned the Tables on Me
  6. Nice Work if You Can Get It
  7. Any Old Blues
  8. Lemon Drop
  9. Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me
  10. These Foolish Things
  11. A-Tisket A-Tasket
  12. Smooth Sailing

There must be quite a story about this concert, which was recorded in 1973 at the Carnegie Hall as part of the Newport Jazz festival of that year. Unfortunately Sony Jazz who have released it in their low price series do not choose to tell us what it is. What a shame!

The superb Tommy Flanagan Quartet provides the backings on the first four tracks. (The back cover calls him Tommy Flanagran!) It is like as though the company have decided that as the record is cheap, it’s production has been left to the office boy. This is a shame because the CD is Ella working at her very best to an enthusiastic audience.

The Tommy Flanagan Quartet has Joe Pass on Guitar, Keeter Best on Bass and Freddie Waits on Drums. Tommy Flanagan is a brilliant pianist with a total understanding of Ella’s needs from an accompanist. These first four tracks get the concert off to an excellent start. On tracks 5 & 6 Ellis Larkins on piano is featured in a duet with Ella and again the blend is good with Larkins providing his own bass lines. On tracks 7 & 8, the Tommy Fanagan Quartet returns for Any Old Blues and the only Ella Fitz. version I have heard of Lemon Drop, the latter demonstrates that Ella was the best ‘scat’ singer of all time.

Tracks 8 7 9 are duets with guitarist Joe Pass and Ella sings both of these ballads with great expression and superb jazz feel. Joe pass provides the perfect accompaniment.

The final tracks, 11 and 12 feature Ella singing with a re-creation of the Chick Webb Orchestra led by Eddie Barefield. It was in the band of Chick Webb that Ella first came to prominence, after winning a talent contest at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

As I mentioned earlier, the production is poor but the record is excellent in sound quality and quality of performance.

Don Mather

 

 

 



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