Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Johnny Mercer Song Book (Remastered) Ella Fitzgerald

Album info



Label: Verve

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Vocal

Artist: Ella Fitzgerald

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Too Marvelous For Words02:33
  • 2Early Autumn03:52
  • 3Day In Day Out02:50
  • 4Laura03:45
  • 5This Time The Dream's On Me02:57
  • 6Skylark03:13
  • 7Single-O03:23
  • 8Something's Gotta Give02:36
  • 9Trav'lin Light03:50
  • 10Midnight Sun04:57
  • 11Dream (When You’re Feeling Blue)03:00
  • 12I Remember You03:41
  • 13When A Woman Loves A Man03:50
  • Total Runtime44:27

Info for Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Johnny Mercer Song Book (Remastered)

„Along with her Rodgers and Hart collection, this is one of the best of Ella Fitzgerald's songbooks. Fitzgerald's assured and elegant voice is a perfect match for Mercer's urbane lyrics and Nelson Riddle's supple arrangements. In light of this decorous setting, it's not surprising that Mercer's swagger-heavy numbers like 'I Wanna Be Around' and 'One More For My Baby' are skipped in favor of more poised selections such as 'Early Autumn' and 'Skylark.' Even traditionally hard-swinging numbers such as 'Day In Day Out' and 'Something's Gotta Give' are kept in check with Riddle's vaporous, flute-heavy backing and Fitzgerald's velvet tone. Slower numbers like 'Laura' and 'Midnight Sun' add dramatic contrast with their enigmatic tonal backdrops and elongated vocal phrasing. Fitzgerald's Mercer songbook has become something of an overlooked gem partly because of the popularity of her Cole Porter and Gershwin collections. It's a shame, because this songbook is beautifully executed by Fitzgerald and Riddle and contains wonderful Mercer collaborations with, among others, Harold Arlen and Hoagy Charmichael. This is definitely one for any Fitzgerald fan and not a bad introduction to her vast catalog.“ (Stephen Cook)

Ella Fitzgerald, vocals
Paul Smith, piano
Barney Kessel, guitar
Joe Comfort, bass
Irving Cottler, drums
Emil Radocchia, percussion
Frank Flynn, vibraphone
Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra
Willie Smith, alto saxophone
Plas Johnson, tenor saxophone
Babe Russin, tenor saxophone
Carroll Lewis, trumpet
Vito Mangano, trumpet
George Seaberg, trumpet
Shorty Sherock, trumpet
John Audino, trumpet
Dick Nash, trombone
Tommy Pederson, trombone
Milt Bernhart, trombone
Gilbert Falco, trombone
Tommy Shepard, trombone
George Roberts, bass trombone
John Cave, French horn
James Decker, French horn
William Henshaw, French horn
Buddy Collette, flute
Harry Klee, flute
Buddy DeFranco, clarinet
Abe Most, clarinet
Norman Benno, oboe
Seymour Schoneberg, oboe
Lloyd Hildebrand, bassoon
Howard Terry, bassoon
Katharine Julyie, harp
Nelson Riddle, arranger, conductor

Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California on October 19-21, 1964.

Digitally remastered.

Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)
was, along with Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday, one of the most important vocalists to emerge from the big-band era. Her style is marked by a sunny outlook, a girlish innocence, and a virtuoso command of her voice.

Fitzgerald was born out of wedlock in Newport News, Virginia, to a laundress mother and a father who disappeared when she was three years old. Along with her mother and her mother’s new boyfriend who functioned as a stepfather, she soon moved to Yonkers, New York, where she began her schooling. Around the third grade she started dancing, a pursuit that became almost an obsession. In 1932, when she was fifteen, her mother died suddenly of a heart attack. Her stepfather treated her badly, but an aunt took the teenager to live with her in Harlem. This arrangement did not last long; Fitzgerald ran away in 1934 to live on the streets. Late that year she won a talent contest at the Apollo Theater; she had entered as a dancer, but nervousness caused her to sing instead. Several months later she joined drummer Chick Webb’s big band, where she mostly sang novelties like 'Vote for Mr. Rhythm'. In 1938 she recorded 'A-Tisket, A-Tasket', her own adaptation of a turn-of-the-century nursery rhyme, which took the country by storm and eventually sold a million copies. When Webb died in 1939 the band’s management installed Fitzgerald as leader.

In 1942 the band broke up and Fitzgerald became a single act, touring with various other popular names of the day. She also became interested in scat singing and the newly emerging style known as bebop, and in 1945 she recorded a landmark version of 'Flying Home.' Several tours with the Dizzy Gillespie band also contributed to her assimilation of the bebop style.

In the late 1940s Fitzgerald began to tour with the Jazz at the Philharmonic troupe, working with such leading musicians as saxophonist Lester Young, trumpeter Roy Eldridge, pianist Oscar Peterson, and bassist Ray Brown, to whom she was married for four years. JATP impresario Norman Granz became increasingly influential in her career, and in 1953 he became her manager.

Three years after that he became her record producer as well, recording her on his own Verve label. He wasted little time in having Fitzgerald record a double album of Cole Porter songs. Fitzgerald made many wonderful albums for Verve in the following decade, but the six songbooks occupy a special place in her discography. They were instrumental in expanding Fitzgerald’s appeal beyond that of a 'jazz singer' and creating a demand for her in venues not usually open to jazz artists.

For die-hard jazz fans, though, the well-polished jewels of the songbook series lack the raw energy of Fitzgerald’s live performances. Happily, Granz released several landmark concert albums by her as well. Especially exciting was a 1960 Berlin concert, which featured an electrifying performance of an impromptu take on 'Mack the Knife,' which became a Top 30 single. Fitzgerald usually performed with a trio or quartet, but there were also appearances with larger groups, such as the Duke Ellington and Count Basie orchestras. By the 1960s Fitzgerald had become wealthy enough to retire, but the love of performing drove her on — she appeared regularly until just a couple of years before her death in 1996. Sidemen came and went, but except when health problems intervened she performed as much as humanly possible, sometimes singing concerts in two different cities in one day. Source: Verve Music (Phil Bailey). Excerpted from Ken Burns’ Jazz: The Definitive Ella Fitzgerald

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