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Ella & Duke at the Cote D'Azur
Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington
Ella & Duke at the Cote D'Azur
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #2

This two-CD collection differs considerably from both the stunning eight-CD complete Côte d'Azur set and the single-CD all-Ellington Soul Call, taken from the same set of concerts at the 1966 Antibes jazz festival. Ella Fi...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington
Title: Ella & Duke at the Cote D'Azur
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Release Date: 10/28/1997
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Swing Jazz, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime, Vocal Jazz, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 731453903029, 0731453903029, 042283356214, 042283356245

This two-CD collection differs considerably from both the stunning eight-CD complete Côte d'Azur set and the single-CD all-Ellington Soul Call, taken from the same set of concerts at the 1966 Antibes jazz festival. Ella Fitzgerald's all over these tunes, making this a full-on collaborative set. She sounds mightily driven, sometimes almost boundary-breaking in her execution. Vocally, she's both tight and loose, brimming with turns of phrase and belting lyrics with popping exactness. The dates caught here aren't regarded as the greatest for either of the marquee artists (for the greatest of each, see the Fitzgerald Essentials or Ellington Essentials), but in terms of the sheer quality of music and the fullness of artistic vision, Fitzgerald's tunes vie with anything else she did in her career. Sure, many of the tunes are fast and jumping, but their propulsion is largely thanks to Fitzgerald's heightened sense of play. And the Ellington band was always up for play. --Andrew Bartlett

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CD Reviews

Swing With The Best
James Morris | Jackson Heights, NY United States | 12/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This has been my favorite Ella Fitzgerald set since I first acquired the vinyl in 1975 or so. The editorial review leads you to believe that these tracks are derived from the eight- disc boxed set, but that's not accurate - THIS is the original album, and all that was available of these wonderful concerts for many years. I was excited when they announced the release of the eight disc boxed set, knowing how much I love the music on the original two disc set, but in retrospect, the big box set doesn't really contain much more worthwhile material. If I had to do it over I would just buy the two-disc set and skip buying the box, as I find myself playing this one over and over and hardly ever cracking open the other.

The selections presented on this two-disc set are definitely the cream of the crop. I strongly disagree with those who say that Ella shines here but Duke is only so-so. Ella's tracks are of course magnificent, but Duke leads the band with great skill and perfect timing, as he always does. And as a singer, his scatting on "It Don't Mean a Thing" is quite brilliant. He is not as polished as Ella, but he does manage to match her vitality, even as he strains for some of the notes. And in terms of improvisation, he actually catches her off-guard more than once, and I find myself smiling with each "shoe-be-do-ba-dua" that he lets out. I always find it hard to sit still as I listen to him growl, and sometimes I dance around the room when his vocal really gets going. My CD collection contains not quite enough Duke Ellington (14 CD's) and maybe too much Ella Fitzgerald (97 CD's - but then, can one really have TOO much Ella?) but if I had to pick just one album to take on a permanent vacation, this would be it. The two big swing numbers, Mack the Knife and It Don't Mean a Thing are possibly my pick as the most "fun" pieces, but there really isn't a weak moment on the whole album. Ella's reading of the ballads Misty and How Long Has This Been Going On are absolutely perfect, and her Lullaby of Birdland is probably my favorite track on the album. The three extra tracks from the eight-disc box are nothing special, and quite representative of what that set contains. Those seeking a complete record of these concerts will do alright by purchasing the larger boxed set, but I think this album contains all that's really essential. Either way, this music is quite entertaining, and highly recommended.
It Do Mean A Thing Cuz They Both Swing Swing Swing...
James Morris | 01/30/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Three reasons to own this "Cote D'Azur" concert CD:
On Disc #1: 1) "Mack the Knife." Without a doubt, this is the most upbeat, swinging version of this song Ella has done. Her imitation of Satchmo is, as always, right on. It's like the version she did in Berlin in the 1960 concert, only this version has gone more than slightly and delightfully haywire. The scatting has never been better. Ella takes risks here. She jutts and recedes; takes corners on two wheels; and pops wheelies all the way through. No wonder she's called LadyTime. If you can sit still while listening to this song, you must be dead already.
Disc #2:
1) "It Don't Mean a Thing..." You can't help but laugh. The spirit of fun and good feeling between Ella and Duke, and between Ella and Duke and their audience, comes through on this song, in spite of what we read in the liner notes: how Ella's dear half-sister passed away, and how, after a song, she would exit the stage in order to weep in the wings. That she could muster enough strength and charisma to swing in the midst of a personal loss simply shows what a talented genius LadyTime was, and how dedicated to her art and to her audience she was.
2) "So Danco Samba." This song is the reason I bought this collection in the first place. Ella, as always, is free and easy. The scatting is superb. She takes this Jobim song and makes it her own. This one song along could make you an Ella fan for life. "The Jazz Samba The Jazz Samba Thrills You Through and Through..."
And while I am a huge Ellington fan, I don't feel that this collection represents his best work. When it's just Ellington and his band, Ella is sorely missed. You want her to come back out and grace us with her voice. --dan"
Ella And Duke Take The Center Stage And Swing Their Hearts O
Rebecca*rhapsodyinblue* | CA USA | 07/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""It don't mean a thing . . . if it ain't got that swing." ~ Duke Ellington ~

This awesome two-CD-set, "Ella and Duke at The Côte D'Azur" contains live performances of two of the most popular jazz artists America ever produced and both had earned worldwide recognition they so deserved. These performances were recorded live at the International Festival of Jazz in 1966. The Liner Notes by Michael Ulman state that "two of the most charming as well as abundantly gifted musicians of their time, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington shared an absolute dedication to their work and to the fans who came to see them." Here, there's a delightful musical exchange between Ella and Duke - a talent showdown they both so enjoyed as they shine radiantly in all of their performances.

Disc 1 starts off with "Mack The Knife," a highly spirited and most exuberant performance which is a showcase of the First Lady of Song's creativity in scat-singing. My highlights on this Disc include a light swing and scattin'-a-plenty "Lullaby of Birdland," "How Long Has This Been Going On," and a medley of "You Go To My Head" and "Going Out Of My Head."

Disc 2 opens up with the Duke's most famous signature song and a swing staple, "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing." Ella delivers "The More I See You" in her most emotional yet gentle treatment with only a piano accompaniment by Jimmy Jones. It is so beautiful! Erroll Garner's "Misty" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "So Danco Samba" are stunningly wonderful performances with the backing of Jimmy Jones Trio.

This is Ella Fitzgerald in her swingiest form, at least for the most part. While listening to these CDs, allow yourself to be transported to The Côte D'Azur and be a part of the admiring and most appreciative audience. You'll surely have a grand musical journey!