Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ella Fitzgerald, Nelson Riddle|
Swings Gently With Nelson
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
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ELLA + NELSON = MAGIC!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Norman Granz, then owner of Verve Records was no fool. He knew Nelson would be a great arranger for Ella. He waited until the Gershwin Songbook to get Nelson and then these albums followed. While the Gershwin Songbook may be Ella and Nelson's finest hours, the "Brightly" album and this one are no less magnificent. Ella's reading of "I CAN'T GET STARTED" swings ever so slighty while getting the message across as Nelson gets off some of his finest arranging ever. Included here are "IT'S A PITY TO SAY GOODNIGHT", "I WISHED ON THE MOON", a very boozy yet sentimental reading of "STREET OF DREAMS", and the classic "BODY AND SOUL". As an added bonus Verve has unearthed a great gem in "ALL OF ME", and I can't decide who's swinging harder, Ella in a mad scat mode, or Nelson Riddle's fabulous orchestra behind her. It's important to note that while Nelson was one of the greatest arranger/conductors of our time (look what he did for Sinatra from 1953 on, as well as countless others) his arrangements never take away from the vocalist, but rather aide them into giving us some of the greatest music ever! One of my favorite Ella/Nelson sides appears on the Jerome Kern songbook, "A FINE ROMANCE". If it's Ella and Nelson...you gotta get it!"
Ella appears in all her splendor
PDB | Redlands, CA USA | 02/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an album of the most magical, achingly beautiful music-making. It really is one of those records which, in the words of one of the numbers so lusciously performed here, "makes a cloudy day sunny." There was no kind of popular song written between 1920 and 1960 that Ella Fitzgerald couldn't handle, and as a result, it's almost absurd to compare one of her albums with another. However, for sheer, transcendent beauty it's hard to beat this set of gorgeously rendered ballads. For what it's worth, it would be one of about five discs I would try to save from a house fire.Ella Fitzgerald's 'concept' albums of the late 1950s and early '60s for the Verve label are all at least the equal of Frank Sinatra's, pressed for Capitol during the same years. In this one, as in a set of up-beat numbers released at about the same time, Ella is abetted by Sinatra's most brilliant arranger, Nelson Riddle. His total commitment to the special qualities of each singer with whom he worked, and to the special ethos of each project, is neatly shown by comparing his arrangement of 'She's Funny That Way' on this album with his backing for the same song on Sinatra's 'Nice 'n' Easy', recorded the previous year. The settings are almost unbelievably unlike one another, and yet each, in its own way, is true to the spirit of the song. Riddle's charts on 'Ella Swings Gently' are, surely, some of the very best he ever wrote. The orchestral texture is intoxicating: brilliant chords from the brass are splashed across the silky background of his lilting string lines. The result is a sound that is as colorful as Ella's voice, complementing flawlessly the warmth and sensuousness of her singing here. Though the mood and tone are consistent, Riddle never repeats himself: each number surprises and delights, and every hearing seems to reveal new splendors. The glory of the human voice, as Sinatra and Fitzgerald both realized, is that it can mimic and surpass the effects produced by virtually any instrument in the orchestra. In this album, Ella's timbre is as effortlessly liquid and limpid as the smoothest reed solos from such colleagues as Stan Getz, Johnny Hodges and Paul Gonsalves. And in terms of range, of course, Ella has the advantage, for she can caress notes at either end of the register without any loss of resonance. There is not a single indifferent song on this album, and never do the standards of musicianship from any of the performers waver: 'Ella Swings Gently' is perfection's self throughout. It's not even easy to pick out one track that is better than the others, but special acknowledgement is, perhaps, demanded by 'Body and Soul,' a touchstone of the jazz musician's art since the '20s. This was the last in the original line-up (it's now followed by two bonus tracks) and was obviously meant to form a fitting climax to the LP. Certainly, Ella pulls out all the stops: though understated, her performance of this song is filled with infinite yearning and veiled sadness of a kind that only she could convey. It might have been a fitting climax not only to the record, but to her career. Fortunately, it was not - there were golden years ahead for her. But this number, like the album as a whole, is a pearl beyond price."
A heady brew.
T. Maddison | London | 04/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh boy, is this a treat! One of those albums whose discovery really make life seem better. Riddle's arrangements are simply breathtaking; lush, heady, saturated with nostalgia, but with a powerful slow swing, as if cast for some dance band in heaven, they provide a magical backdrop for Ella at her most forthright and soulful. Personally, I prefer this to its more famous predecessor "Ella Swings Brightly.." Tracks "Sweet and Slow", "Street of Dreams", "She's Funny That Way", "The Very Thought of You", "All of Me" and, above all, the monumental "I Can't Get Started" are just sumptuous. Coming in 1962 this album was a gorgeous overblown sunset for a musical era that was all but ended. I rate this as a must!"