60 years and still swinging
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At the end of the 1970s, Ella was in her early sixties (on this particular recording she was 60).
Ella starts with a swinging rendition of `Too Close For Comfort', which was already on her repertoire in the mid-fifties (she first recorded it in duet with Joe Williams accompanied by Count Basies Band). Here her voice has grown older but she proves that doesn't mean her singing qualities have decreased! What follows is a great version of `I Ain't Got Nothin But The Blues', which is much more soulful than her earlier recording of the song with Duke Ellington in 1957.
After that she sings a beautiful version of `my man', at the end her voice seems to slip away but she manages to keep in under control.
On `Come Rain or Come Shine' she forgets some lyrics, which you won't notice if you've never heard her Harold Arlen Songbook version. It's hard to imagine how she treats a song so difficult with only 16 years between her two versions.
`Ordinary fool' (and not `Only a fool', as Ella introduced it) is the other beautiful ballad on this recording. This recording is the only one made of Ella singing this song.
A swinging `One Note Samba' follows, with breath-taking scats. She had recorded it previously in 1968, 1976, and would record it again in 1981, and in 1983. Although I haven't heard those versions I think they can't be so great as this one. It swings so, that Ella gets tired and has to slow down on the next song, `I let a song go out of my heart'. Personally I find her 1956 version better.
Then another song Ella recorded only once; she's caught her breath now and she swings as great as on `One Note Samba'. The crowd went wild, and asked for an encore: Ella does Stevie Wonders' `Sunshine of my life'. It is great.
Ella was accompanied by the Tommy Flanagan trio, which recorded also an LP without Ella on the same day, so they had to work very much on that night of July 14, 1977. If you hear how much energy Flanagan uses, it isn't difficult to imagine why he would get a heart attack some years afterwards.
These recordings are the last Ella made with Tommy Flanagan - he had been her accompanist from 1963 to 1965 and from 1968 to 1978. From their 1978 work no recordings were made.
This concert is often compared to the Montreux 1975 recordings Ella made with the Flanagan trio, and it's often said Montreux 77 is the best of her Montreux recordings. I think you can't say that one of them is the best. Both recordings have beautiful songs, great scats and wonderful interpretations - I would say: listen to them both!"
Bouncin' Ella: Good Introduction to Her Style
Ramblin' Rob | Salt Lake City, UT | 09/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was my first CD from Ella's set. I found it a really good, very well-rounded collection and sampling of her styles.
Of special interest is One Note Samba, a wonderful examble of Ella's very bouncy scat techniques. Although, it should be noted that the ENTIRE CD is great. Ella's talent shines through."