thirty-six tracks on ‘Jukebox Ella’
make a compilation covering the first
two volumes of Ella Fitzgerald’s 45rpm
discs for Verve Records recorded between
1956 and 1968.
combinations of titles recorded by Ella
are infinite so on items such as this
we must expect some ‘rough with the
smooth’ – in this case there are seven
or so titles that just don’t fit in.
Even the Gershwins had off days with
novelty numbers such as ‘I’m a Poached
Egg Without Toast.’ The sleeve notes
referring to the contents claim that,
‘Her impeccable artistry and wonderful
voice makes every one a hit.’ No way!
Ella was the number one female jazz
singer but commercialism forced her
into producing some very mediocre material.
Fitzgerald was a unique singer and performer
greatly respected in her profession
and most musicians would have queued
up to accompany her. Here her main accompanists
are orchestras led by Buddy Bregman,
Frank Devol, Paul Weston, Marty Paich,
Gordon Jenkins and of course Nelson
Riddle. There is also a flavour of small
group material. All the tracks have
individual qualities but there are a
few that really appealed.
Sun Forgot To Shine This Morning’ is
a new title to me and Ella makes a superb
job of this well written and haunting
ballad accompanied by Buddy Bregman.
Only Ella could get away with singing
Hoagy Carmichael’s all time favourite
‘Stardust’ as a Bossa Nova and
it works well. Other titles strictly
belong to Ella’s unique repertoire such
as ‘A-Tisket A-Tasket’ and ‘Bill
Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home.’
Ignoring the uninteresting material,
generally this CD provides some vintage
and classic Ella backed by the best
orchestras of the day.