Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
There's nothing mellow about Ella's best on Pablo!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ella's voice became thicker and more textured as she got older, and on this 1974 set, recorded while she was still in her mid-50's, is her best post-Verve performance. Her lower timbre not too thick, it added to her vocals just a hint of blues. Ella just jams on this album, every cut a great new interpretation of an old standard, my favorite being "The Man That Got Away" which starts out as a ballad and builds to a swingin' session. Other eye openers are "I'm In The Mood For Love" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" in which she and Clark Terry try to outscat each other. It's a wild ride and a tribute to Ella's ever increasing talents as a jazz stylist."
Ella's best from the 70s
mtaylor830 | Richmond, Virginia USA | 07/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded in 1974, this is Ella Fitzgerald's best recording from the 1970s. It's similar to "Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie" in featuring her in a strictly jazz setting, although one that is more noisy and rambunctious. Her accompaniment is among the best ever with Joe Pass, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Zoot Sims, Tommy Flanagan, Ray Brown and Louie Bellson. Ella scats up a storm on "Rocking in Rhythm," and this version, in my view, is superior to the one found on the fabled "Duke Ellington Songbook." Another highlight is when Clark Terry joins Ella for a dual "scatfest" on "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." He darn near outdoes Ella!"
Ella Still Has IT --- A Great Recording and Worthy Effort
Peter | East of Los Angeles | 01/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The subtitle of this CD reads "Ella Jams", which basically describes this CD. Even at 57 years-old, Ella Fitzgerald still proves she's GOT IT ! Producer Norman Granz (who at this point had been recording Ella for decades) assembles basically the "Cream of the Crop" in the jazz world playing alongside Ella. She definitely rises to the occasion.
The biggest criticism you can throw at Ella is her somewhat lack of "emotionalism" when singing "down and out" material -- the blusier jazz songs. Yes, she could swing with the best of them, but when it came time to sing the blues or songs with a downbeat message, Ella had a problem in her interpretations. With the same material, Ella's contemporary and biggest rival -- Billie Holiday -- exceled with this stuff. But on this CD, Ella proves she can dig far deep into her material. Perhaps at this stage in her long storied career, Ella had reached a point where she could see life from a different perspective, which probably contributed to her newfound interpretation of these songs that maybe she couldn't manage even 10 years earlier.
Nothing demonstrates this better than the title track where Ella tackles the song so identified with (and written by) Billie Holiday --- "Fine and Mellow". This track alone is worth the purchase price. Ella uses her slightly rough-hewn vocals and wide vibrato (both due to age) to great effect. Her jazz guys are simply superb playing alongside her. A gorgeous song sung and played by Ella and her guys. This track loses nothing to the original so well done by Billie in many different interepretations.
It's also refreshing to hear Ella singing in a jazz setting again after countless orchestra recordings (it can get tiring). This context is really where Ella shines, using her jazz improvisational skills and "jamming" with her guys in the studio. Actually this recording doesn't have the feel or sound of a studio. The sound quality is Excellent, more like hearing Ella live in a nightclub or jazz joint. Really a worthwhile effort and one of Ella's best recordings after her glory days at Verve Records in the Fifties and Sixties. By the 1970's, jazz critics were starting to write Ella off, but here in 1974, at 57 years-old, Ella still proves she has what it takes when the occasion presented itself.
All songs on this CD are sung, played and recorded Superbly, but nothing really surpasses the title song, "Fine and Mellow"."