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Early Years 1
Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb
Early Years 1
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #2

This two-CD set collects Ella Fitzgerald's work with the Chick Webb Orchestra from 1935 to 1938, including the subgroup that recorded under her own name, Ella Fitzgerald and her Savoy Eight. Fitzgerald was a teenager when ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb
Title: Early Years 1
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Verve
Release Date: 8/12/1997
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Swing Jazz, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime, Vocal Jazz, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Classic Vocalists, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 011105261821

This two-CD set collects Ella Fitzgerald's work with the Chick Webb Orchestra from 1935 to 1938, including the subgroup that recorded under her own name, Ella Fitzgerald and her Savoy Eight. Fitzgerald was a teenager when she began recording with Webb; the complete singer of ballads, show tunes, and scat improvisation existed only in the future. What Fitzgerald possessed was a great voice in embryo, and these CDs give listeners a chance to hear her growing in skill and confidence with each successive session. Her pitch and diction were already good, and she clearly had a unique talent for rhythmic phrasing. In fact, the novelty and rhythm songs she was usually called on to perform drew only on that aspect of her talent, songs of the first rank--then jealously guarded by music publishers and record companies--being unavailable to her. When she gets the opportunity with better material--as on "I Want to Be Happy"--she acquits herself admirably. Her hit of "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," brilliantly propelled by Webb's drumming, still sounds inspired. There were some bands of the period that were more artful, but few as singularly devoted to the principle of swing and none with a drummer more dynamic or creative than Webb. His presence drives every medium to uptempo tune in the collection. --Stuart Broomer

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CD Reviews

Ella's star twinkles and shines !!!
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 03/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ella Fitzgerald, The Early Years, Part 1 has two CDs that give us numbers that Ella Fitzgerald recorded with Chick Webb & His Orchestra; this also includes some numbers Ella recorded not just with Chick Webb's Orchestra but also with her own team entitled Ella Fitzgerald & Her Savoy Eight. Overall, this is a fantastic two CD set. We get great swing music and this showcases what pop music was like in the later half of the 1930s. The tracks are mostly free of surface noise and the artwork is very nicely done. This two CD set includes a booklet with photos, an essay by Will Friedwald, and the song credits.

The first CD starts with "I'll Chase The Blues Away;" that big band style arrangement is incredible! Ella sounds very good; her voice is as clear as a bell. She shows all the signs of a soon-to-be great chanteuse. "Rhythm And Romance" is another peppy tune that has Ella squarely front and center. The brass is used to great advantage on "Rhythm And Romance," too. "Sing Me A Swing Song (And Let Me Dance)" has Ella singing beautifully; her excellent diction enhances her singing all the more. We also get an early recording of "You'll Have To Swing It ("Mr. Paganini");" Ella loved to sing this song and it's great to hear her youthful voice belt this out flawlessly. Ella handles the tempo changes like the pro she was already. In addition, "Vote For Mr. Rhythm" was timed to coincide with the 1936 presidential election--and wow, how this number swings!

"Organ Grinder's Swing" uses the brass to mimic the sound of an organ grinder on the street; and listen for "If You Ever Should Leave." "If You Ever Should Leave" has some surface noise but it's enjoyable anyway. Ella sings this song with all her heart and soul--just one listen proves it! "If You Ever Should Leave" is also one of the numbers on which Ella's subgroup "Her Savoy Eight" performed. "Just A Simple Melody" continues that 1930s pop/swing music with a big band style musical intro; and when Ella comes in this number takes flight!

The second CD continues the great music. "I Want To Be Happy" shines like silver and gold when the crew perform this; Ella's vocals are nothing short of sublime! "Bei Mir Bist Du Schöen" was one of the rare times an ethnic song made the big time; and this rendition featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Her Savoy Eight is absolutely wonderful. Ella sings of how she loves her man. "It's Wonderful" has an elegant piano arrangement; and Ella sings sweetly of the joys of love. "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" was one of Ella's earliest big hits; she even sang this song in the movie "Ride `Em, Cowboy." Terrific! "You Can't Be Mine (And Someone Else's, Too)" has a title that sums up the message of the song. Ella takes "You Can't Be Mine (And Someone Else's, Too)" and wears her heart on her sleeve for this tune. Ella's Savoy Eight also help to make this a memorable tune.

"McPherson Is Rehearsin' (To Swing)" shines as Chick Webb & His Orchestra play this very well; and Ella's vocals complement their music perfectly. Ella sings this with just a hint of a low, deep gravelly sound in her voice--an early sign that her voice was maturing! In addition, listen for Ella and Her Savoy Eight to join Chick Webb's Orchestra on "Strictly From Dixie." "F.D.R. Jones" was performed by several different singers but Ella's rendition ranks high. "F.D.R. Jones" has an extended musical intro and Ella sings this marvelously. The second CD ends with "I Found My Yellow Basket;" this follow-up song to "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" sounds great and Ella sings it with lots of positive energy.

Ella Fitzgerald could never be forgotten; she worked hard to entertain her audiences from day one and the proof is in these very early recordings. I highly recommend this CD for Ella Fitzgerald fans; and people who like classic pop and swing music will definitely enjoy this two CD set.
A fabulous beginning!
Max | 08/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I disagree with what Mr. Kalafut says in his review. While these may not be the absolute best songs to showcase Ms. Fitzgerald, they're a wonderful sampling of Chick Webb & His Orchestra. Sure, if you want the standard Ella stuff stick with the songbooks, but if you want to go back to her beginnings *and* listen to one of the great jazz bands of the 30's, this is it. Listen to some of the samples and decide for yourself if this is for you or not.(Yes, I bought this mostly for Chick Webb; Ella was a mere bonus for me.)And by the way, the audio restoration on these is very nice!"