Best Of Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
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Product Description

Ella Fitzgerald's voice was satin to Louis Armstrong's sandpaper, but when you put them together on a single song, their chemistry was unimpeachable. This disc selects highlights from the three albums they made together at Verve (including their Porgy and Bess), and adds a spiffy live track from the Hollywood Bowl. Though they don't harmonize much (Armstrong's voice wasn't built for harmony), Ella's dignified swing and flashes of teasing wit play off Satchmo's gritty, good-humored roar symbiotically. The material is mostly lightweight Tin Pan Alley stuff (lots of Gershwin, plus the likes of "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"), and they fly it like a kite. --Douglas Wolk

Customer Reviews:

  • Magic, magnificent, monumental, moving, mellow, mirthful
    You might be like me. Always liked Ella, never really sure of Louis. Finally able to afford to build a classic jazz collection on CD, but can't afford all three of the Ella and Louis releases. If you recognize yourself, do not be afraid to invest in this one-disc sampler from all three original albums. It is superb. Armstrong is so likeable he almost steals the show from Ella, and that takes some doing. Louis does more "singing" (he is unique, so the quotes are appropriate) than trumpet playing, but the rhythm support from Oscar Peterson, among others, is strong without being intrusive. This is a "vocal" project, and the pairing of Miss F and Mr. A is inspired. Read the other reviews for more details on specific songs. I say, if you like jazz vocalists, you have to have both these guys in your collection, and here you have them on the same disc. How can you go wrong?...more info
  • Wow!
    I am an unusual person, 16 years old and in love with jazz. Not the elevator, Kenny G. type, but real music. Filled with real vocalists and real feeling, real soul. In a world of overproduced Britney Spears sound-a-likes, Fitzgerald and Armstrong show us all how it is supposed to be done. Apart, they are some of my favorite artists, together, they blow me away. This is definately one of my favorite CD's. I recomend it most highly....more info
  • Let's Call the Whole Thing Awesome
    This is a truly fantastic collection of classics and there's pretty much nothing I can add to it...it's untouchable. May I recommend lighting some candles, clearing off the floor and swinging away the night with your lovey dovey, socks optional. I mean, this is not a pathetic waste of money or time... you deserve the best, and it doesn't get any better than Ella and Louey!!!...more info
  • the best
    If I had to choose one album to listen to exclusively for the rest of my life, it would be this one. Just listen to "Under a Blanket of Blue" and "You won't be Satisfied"...You will know what I mean!...more info
  • Magical!
    I can listen to this CD forever. The magical and silky voice of Ella together with Louis's trumpet and vocals takes you to another world.. I am a jazz fan and this is one of the best CDs that I've ever listened to.. A must-have!...more info
  • Bestof Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
    AWESOME!!!! Bought this CD for my husband as Christmas gift. We were both astounded at how wonderful this duo, the music and the sound quality are. Recorded in the late 1950's, this music is still incredible, even after all these years! The songs are timeless, the execution by Armstrong and Fitzerald IMPECCABLE!

    Highly recommend this one .... you won't be disappointed!...more info
  • amazing artists
    I think I'd rather own all of this series instead of just the 'Best Of' -- I don't think you can pull cuts off the Porgy and Bess and plunk them down in the midst of a compilation disc and maintain a flow. It jars the cd. I have to skip those cuts and play the entire Porgy and Bess later on.

    The first is the best, but I have to get them all to do E & L justice. I'd say skip the Best Of .. get the others. If you don't have Porgy and Bess, that's a good place to start.

    I read a funny quote of Ira Gershwin, something to the effect "I never knew we wrote such great songs until I heard Ella sing them."...more info
  • A Must-Have (in one form or another)--but think twice.
    With all due respect to some other reviewers, this is not "an album" made by Ella and Louis: it's a sampler comprising three Ella and Louis albums. Normally I would not even consider, say, a Sinatra anthology mixing three masterworks like "Only the Lonely," "In the Wee Small Hours," and "Come Fly with Me": each is a unique and integrally whole project. But I have the Ella and Louis LPs, so I picked up this compressed anthology to take some pressure off of the vinyl.

    Like most "best-of" collections, it suffers a bit from uneven textures (the lush orchestration of "Summertime" seems like an intrusion on the intimate rapport established in the preceding numbers) and audio quality (variances in mics, mixing and engineering can be hard to disguise). So unless some of the tunes on this anthology seem absolutely essential, go with "Ella and Louis," if only for its more coherent, unified feel--like two supreme musical storytellers having an irresistable conversation in real time and in real space. (If you have a piano, imagine inviting both into your living room for the evening.)

    Louis' meetings with Ella were his most successful collaborations with another major star (the Ellington get-together doesn't compare), and unfortunately I know of no extended, full-fidelity vinyl sessions featuring Pops with Bing Crosby. What's most noteworthy about their pairing is Ella's restrained deference to Louis, and Louis' passionate, animated trumpet solos (it was not unusual for him to "coast" at this stage of his career). The duets are at times a bit sloppy, or "under-rehearsed," especially following the trumpet solo, but the absence of polish is in this case all for the better. This is a recording about communication of the most "natural" sort, not about perfection or disciplined performance. To hear Pops singing unison, then in 3rds, with Ella on an up-tempo "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" defies description. Simply his presence is enough to showcase Ella's grace and set us up for the sound of surprise when it's Louis' turn to sing solo.

    Recently I heard a Wynton Marsalis tribute to Louis at the Lincoln Center. As fluent and dazzling as Wynton was, his performance made me appreciate Louis all the more. Perhaps Leonard Bernstein hit it on the head in his musical essay about jazz, "What Is Jazz?" Alternating between Louis' vocals and trumpet playing, he pointed out the similarity between the two, noting the hint of "pain" intermingled with the joy, or the brilliance of the trumpet sound, as evidence of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, which might be said to be the essence of the blues itself. Fortunately, that sound is captured in virtually every note that Louis sings and plays on this recording....more info
  • Ella is Hella good! as far Louis, im in love!
    Recently with all the bad music on the radio and tv, i've been only listening and buying Jazz and Blues. I've always loved Ella Fitzgerald, but I must say its much more powerful hearing her voice with the contrast of Louis'. Both their styles blend so well together, its just simply beautiful music. For me it doesnt get any better than their Summertime duet, i must even admit I like their rendition better than Billie Holiday's and thats huge.
    This CD moved me unlike any other I've heard in a long time. The best word to describe it? POWERFUL! ...more info
  • While I agree with other's issues with the way the CD was mastered...
    The performances on this CD are so good, it doesn't matter to me.

    It really sounds like the artists are having fun in the studio....more info
  • Absolute Perfection
    Who would have thought that it could have worked? The pitch-perfect, articulate, and yes, angelic voice of Ella Fitzgerald combined with the gravelly grunts and growls of Louis Armstrong...Two very different singers with very different styles getting together to record? But it does work, and the result is absolute perfection.

    The way Louis and Ella blend, harmonize, and play off each other is simply astounding to hear. And I think that's the secret of why these two superstars were such stellar musicians: They loved making music. Just listen to the fun they're having on "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Been Good to You." It's not only delightful, it's heavenly. Listen and lose yourself in the slow, unhurried harmonies of "Stars Fell on Alabama." And from the opening, emotion-packed trumpet statement of "Summertime," you know you're in for a powerful listening experience.

    It's rare that you find a musician who really, I mean REALLY loves performing. To find two such artists on the same disc? Indescribable. These two greats were put on this earth to make music and they made music with all their might. And we're fortunate enough to have it with us. This disc is heaven. Buy it. Treasure it forever.

    TOTAL TIME: 68:03...more info

  • Ella and Louis
    "These fifteen tracks may be the greatest recordings in Verve's hallowed vaults - masterpieces selected from the three albums of duets recorded by "Pops" and a Lady named Ella. Here, in the best sound to date, featuring popular American songs of the interwar period, is the 'Best of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong on Verve'. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded the first album "Ella and Louis" in 1956. The other two albums "Ella and Louis again" and "Porgy and Bess" were recorded in 1957. This CD is a best of these three albums. The unmistakable voice of "Satchmo" and the solos of his trumpet in duet with Ella's style give an unforgettable celebration for your ears....more info
  • ELLA AND SATCHMO
    IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GO OUT AND BUY AL LTHREE OF THE ALBUMS THAT ELLA AND LOUIS RECORDED TOGETHER, THEN BUY THIS CD, IT IS A COMPILATION OF RECORDINGS FROM THOSE SESSIONS. THIS CD IS SUBLIME, ELLA NEVER SOUNDED BETTER, AND LOUIS IS AT HIS GRAVEL-VOICED BEST, AND STILL DISPLAYS GREAT CHOPS WHEN HE PLAYS THE HORN. IF YOU ENJOY THE MUSIC OF EITHER OF THESE ARTISTS, THEN YOU WILL LOVE THIS CD. THEY NEVER ACTUALLY SING "TOGETHER"(EXCEPT ON THE FANTASTIC "STARS FELL ON ALABAMA"), BUT WHEN EACH ONE OF THEM SINGS THE MELODY, IT REALLY TAKES YOU AWAY, ESPECIALLY "THE NEARNESS OF YOU", WHICH IS TRULY EXCEPTIONA....more info
  • Exceptional
    This is jazz at its best! Nothing like a little Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong to warm the conversation at the party....great gift to give to someone who has everything and is a music lover....more info
  • 'Your Daddy's rich and your Momma fine looking'
    The two greats the one- and- only Satchmo and the one-and-only Ella get together and make music which makes the listener happy to be alive. As another Amazon reviewer has written one feels that they simply so much enjoy making music that their attitude is infectious. The way each one of them in his/her own way play with the lyric and the music is just a delight. They've got it , in the deepest way. And they give it to their listeners with such incredible swinging lilting grace( Ella) and raspy, gravelly, charm( Satchmo) that one just loves to listen.
    I do not agree with the editorial review which says that this music is 'Tin-Pan alley frill" You have some of the great popular songs here including one which is arguably the greatest, " Summertime".
    These are the songs:

    1. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off
    2. Love Is Here To Stay
    3. The Nearness Of You
    4. Stars Fell On Alabama
    5. Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You?
    6. They Can't Take That Away From Me
    7. Autumn In New York
    8. Summertime
    9. Tenderly
    10. Stompin' At The Savoy
    11. Under A Blanket Of Blue
    12. I Wants To Stay Here
    13. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
    14. There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York
    15. You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart

    Enjoy.
    ...more info
  • My lady just loves it!!!
    Great CD. Nice romantic music, especially good for romantic dinner and slow dance. My lady just loves it!...more info
  • No,they cant take that away from me...
    Sixty odd years ago,over AFN,Europe,whistles and fade outs and sometimes only very feeble sounds of the devine trumpet or,the girlish , heavenly voice kept us hoping,kept us alive in the red quagmire.The thin ray of sunshine in the deep,dark well of the *paradise.No,they really cant take all this away.Yes , we will never meet again.Soon I would not be
    able to remember the tunes I loved,but,thanks Heaven,we had the chance to hear them for so many years after THEY(and many others) left us.We may get sentimental,we may feel sorry for us,but we must be happy at heart,because thanks to vynils and CDs,they are still with us and the good old jazz can still be heard and enjoyed...
    Mirko J. Stojnic oldtimer682005@yahoo.ca...more info
  • Buy It...NOW !
    This is the greatest duet record of all time. This will stay in your collection Forever. Beautiful, Just simply beautiful....more info
  • Ella and Louis Cast a Seer's Spell On You!
    Hi Folks. I am back planning an at home romantic evening with Sondra the Seerest. What? You didn't know Metamorpho was a romantic at heart? Of course I am! Ask my agent. Anyway, she's a nice gal but needs alot of polishing and etiquette. I have visions of me being Henry Higgins to her Eliza. But that is a treacherous road my people. I risk her leaving me alone after all is said and done. Another heart broken. Mine! But don't be too concerned. I got an A+ on the course on mesmerization and know all the tricks.
    One of them is playing this album when she arrives. She will swoon and look at me with loving eyes. Guaranteed! Hey look-- you can not possibly fail with Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Two astonishing American musical icons that stand at the top of that legendary pinnacle of excellence. They seem so opposite in their styles. But when you put the two together it is pure magic. The music swings when it has to- and is a loving kiss in softer, more tender moments. This is a fortuitous find for me. I am always on the look-out for more reflective music. And, I am very much of the mind that one must expand and reach out to other musical genres. Also, that there has been a virtual wealth of great music that went before. I feel this way about movies too. There is something of value in every generation and my Seer's vision of this enriches my life in ways you can't imagine.
    Anyway, I can't say enough about Ella. What a fine lady and probably one of the highest vocalists that ever lived. A style with precision and crystal clear enunciation. You never have to wonder about what word she sings - it is clarity to the nth degree. With Louis, I have always had it in my mind a vision of him playing trumpet and putting a hankerchief across his forehead to wipe away the sweat. Also, that famous grin. I really didn't know his gift fully as a vocalist until I listened to this. He's raspy with pizazz, while Ella compliments with heart and flawless singing. This is truly GREAT STUFF!
    So many songs that swing, bop, and are delicate as well. And the mood fluctuates in pleasant and wonderful vibrations as you move from song to song. And the songs? So many examples of great American music here. To name a few- I love the fun of "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off", the romance of "Stars Fell On Alabama", the allure of "They Can't Take that Away from Me", the beautiful "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess, and the jazz jump of "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm". These are just a few of the wonderful songs that inhabit this album. Each one is a gem and so nice to hear on a romantic night. Should I even mention the band? Accomplished and seasoned and like the fine wine I am chilling for Sondra this very minute. For those who want the "real" thing, this is the one. No tricks, no gimmicks, just music at it's finest.
    Oh. I hear the doorbell ring! It must be her. Sorry folks, but I've got to run. I need to start this album again and light all the candles. Sondra doesn't like a non-reflective place! ;)

    Reflecting at the Savoy--your "romantic" Metamorpho...more info
  • The musical odd couple!
    What a musical odd couple! Ella Fitzgerald--and her smooth, elegant voice--and Louis Armstrong and his anything but elegant voice! But this CD works pretty well indeed. Two of the greatest performers of the 20th century play with a set of great songs--and pull it off well.

    Let's take a look at some of the cuts on this CD.

    "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off": A nice Gershwin tune! Potato versus potawto. What a strange combination of voices. But the two talented artists work well together. Her lustrous voice and his "used up" voice.

    "They Can't Take That away from Me": Ella's smooth voice plays with this song so well. She wails "The way you sing off key." And then Armstrong's singing plays off well against that line. An odd duet, but it works.

    "Summertime": Another Gershwin classic. Armstrong's instrumental work sets this up nicely. Fitzgerald's singing is rich and luminous. Armstrong's isn't. Again, though, the odd vocal juxtaposition works--against all odds.

    "Stomping at the Savoy": A Benny Goodman song. What a great song. Fitzgerald starts this off well, with some nice scat singing. Fitzgerald's and Armstrong's voices intertwine well in an oddly affecting way.

    In the end, this is a very nice CD.
    ...more info
  • Who Gets Five Stars If Not These Two?
    For many, the names of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong are synonyms for jazz. The two knew each other well but it is rather surprising that they did not record more than three albums together. These are: "Ella and Louis", "Ella and Louis Again" and "Porgy and Bess". In 1997, the Verve label selected the cream of the three albums for this compilation.

    Picking the best of the three must have been pretty difficult. But on the other hand, there was nothing to be screwed up, it all sounds so good... As the liner notes say, 'the voices could hardly be more different,' but how well they went together. Smokey, throaty "Pops" and pure, glittering Ella... and THEY DID MUCH OF THIS STUFF WITH JUST ABOUT NO REHEARSAL! Armstrong adds his trumpet to many of the complation's selections, too.

    From the first "Ella And Louis" LP, this collection contains "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "Under A Blanket Of Blue", "Tenderly", "Stars Fell On Alabama" and the glorious take of "The Nearness Of You".

    Selections from "Ella And Louis Again" are, in my opinion, slightly lacking in comparison with the first album, but, nevertheless, they're still awfully good. Here we have six of them: "Autumn In New York", "Stompin' At The Savoy", "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You", "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off", the wonderful "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" and "Love Is Here To Stay."

    As for "Porgy and Bess", no representative selection of Ella and Louis (or even of one of them) would do without the heavenly version of "Summertime." Also, Ella sings "I Wants To Stay Here" and Satchmo has his "There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York" here.

    The last track, "You Won't Be Satisfied" was recorded live in front of the audience and is a wonderful treat and the great closer for this impeccable CD.

    There could be a lot more to say about this particular album. It should be an essential purchase for any jazz fan. Indeed, for every music fan....more info

  • Love It
    'Louis and Ella just take me on a trip through time and place me in a smokey jin joint on a Friday night.....more info
  • Flawless! Everyone who listens to this will Love it!
    I am 43 - I've had this CD for about 8 years - it is without a doubt the most beautiful single album I own. Young people, kids, old people, everyone loves this music.

    People have said everything that can be said of the beauty of Ella's voice - it is soooooooooo wonderful. I have since purchased other Ella and Satchmo CD's - this one is the best by far. All the songs are memorable!

    Looking for a great gift - get this CD! ...more info
  • Geniuses make Genius just by being together
    Perhaps this is the collaboration of the two greatest singers in the history of Jazz. Louis is the fundamental jazz singer who changed it all once he put down that coronet and began to scat and sing. Louis's inflections and his rhythm, his ability to do what he could do on a trumpet with his voice started real Jazz singing. People forget but Fats Waller's "Ain't MisBehavin" was introduced by Louis in a Broadway show in the 1920s. When he sang and played the tune he would often get three or four encores, and people who had already seen the show several times would pay full price to come in and see that one song!

    Norman Grantz of Verve put together these combination recordings on the fly, whoever was in town, no rehearsals, no real arrangement worth much, a set list drawn together on a piece of paper, the artists hustling to make time between gigs, not usually having their regular accompaniests.

    Yet, all the Louis Armstrong collaborations are wonderful. None are as brilliant as Louis and Ella for sheer wit and vocal power, for inventions. They are great in regard to rhythm, perhaps that is why Lester Young called Ella Lady time. Listen to them alternating verses, and also listen to the way that Louis's trumpet playing comments on both their vocals.

    While this sampler is good, I recommend their album doing songs from Porgy and Bess to anyone who has ears, whether you can hear or not. If you can't hear, you want the CD on hand for the day they find a cure. You deserve something this good to be the first thing you hear! ...more info
  • The best of jazz.
    This is the best of jazz ever performed....more info
  • Perfection
    Masterpiece!it's a privledge to listen to this fine body of work. Like sitting in a jazz club with a private concert. I absolutely love this.

    ...more info
  • Ella and Louis sing of life as we know it--and wow, how I appreciate the ride!!!
    On this CD Ella and Louis Armstrong join forces to make an album that is pure magic. They've been lovingly teased as satin (Ella) and sandpaper (Louis, because of his gravelly voice); but no duo compares to them when they sing together. Louis and Ella obviously enjoyed making this recording; their voices are in excellent form and impart a certain sense of genuine happiness that is hard to find. Ella and Louis have voices that are rich, vibrant and full of electricity! This CD proves it.

    The CD starts off with the charming and playful "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off." The album then switches gears and goes into the more soulful love ballad entitled "Our Love Is Here To Stay." Sublime! Other great songs on this CD include "Stars Fell On Alabama;" "The Nearness Of You;" "Stompin' At The Savoy;" and "Tenderly." Louis performs great trumpet solos on songs including "Tenderly" and "Summertime" that make your heart melt. In fact, every song is special on this CD; I also admire their rendition of "Under A Blanket Of Blue."

    The musical arrangements are very well done. These tracks feature several great opportunities for us to enjoy Armstrong's trumpet solos.

    The liner notes impress me, too. There is an adaptation of an essay by William Ruhlmann who wrote the liner notes for The Complete Ella And Louis On Verve. There are beautiful photos of Ella and Louis; and you get the song credits, too. A nice plus!

    Overall, the chemistry between Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong makes for an experience that is truly in its own league. They enjoy their work and it shows. You will appreciate their energy and powerful renditions of these wonderful songs. I highly recommend this CD for fans of classic pop vocals and fans of both Ella and Louis. This is also a great budget priced CD for people who want to know if they will like this style of music.

    Moreover, if you do like this CD I suggest you listen to the CD box set entitled The Complete Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong and another CD entitled Ella and Louis again. You can also try solo CDs by both Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong; they produced great music individually as well. You truly can't go wrong with this classic CD; and I hope this CD brings you the same joy and thrills that Ella and Louis communicate when they perform these magnificent songs. ENJOY!!!
    ...more info
  • Among the best CDs I have ...
    As others have said, you just can't miss with this one. Production value is very high -- these are also great recordings (incredible really). Makes you think that these were anticipated to be great performances ... Louie and Ella did not disappoint.

    The back cover says it all "These 15 tracks may be the greatest recordings in Verve's hallowed vaults -- masterpieces selected from the three albums of duets recorded by 'Pops' and a Lady named Ella ..." ...more info