Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Robert Bain (guitar); Corky Hale, Kathyrine Julye, Veryle Brilhart (harp); Gerald Vinci, James Getzoff, Henry Hill , Victor Bay, Erno Neufeld, Benny Gill, Jacques Gasselin, Lou Raderman, Murray Kellner, Alex Beller, Joe Stepansky, Dan Lube, Joseph Livoti, Marshall Sosson, Sidney Sharp, Stuff Smith, Victor Arno, Israel Baker, Nathan Ross, Eudice Shapiro, Paul Shure, Walter Edelstein (violin); David Sterkin, Barbara Simons, Alex Neimann, Louis Kievman, Paul Robyn, Stanley Harris, Alvin Dinkin, Virginia Majewski (viola); James Arkatov, Robert LaMarchina, Elizabeth Greenschpoon, Armand Karpoff, George Neikrug, Edgar Lustgarten, Kurt Reher, Eleanor Slatkin, Ray Kramer (cello); Ted Nash (flute, woodwinds, tenor saxophone); Harry Klee, Buddy Collette (flute, woodwinds); Bud Shank (flute, alto saxophone); Jule Kinzler (flute); Harry Carney (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Herb Geller, Russell Procope (clarinet, alto saxophone); Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor saxophone); George Clinton Smith, Abe Most, Buddy DeFranco (clarinet); Chuck Gentry (bass clarinet, bassoon, woodwinds, baritone saxophone); Bob Cooper (oboe, English horn, tenor saxophone); Arnold Koblentz, Norman Benno, Seymour Schoneberg (oboe); Howard Terry, Lloyd W. Hildebrand (bassoon); Babe Russin (woodwinds, tenor saxophone); Champ Webb, Gene Cipriano, William Smith , Joe Koch, Matty Matlock, Justin Gordon, Wilbur Schwartz, Fred Stulce (woodwinds); Maurice Stein, Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter , Ronnie Lang (alto saxophone); Frank Foster , Paul Gonsalves, Plas Johnson , Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Clark Terry, Manny Klein, Conrad Gozzo , Dizzy Gillespie, Don Fagerquist, Carroll Lewis, Frank Beach, Joe Triscari, Harold Baker, Harry "Sweets" Edison , Cappy Lewis, George Seaberg, Vito Mangano, Dale McMickle, Maynard Ferguson, Pete Candoli, Ray Linn, Ray Nance, Shorty Sherock, John McClanian Best Jr., John Audino, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson (trumpet); James A. Decker, Richard Perissi, William Hinshaw, George Price, Vincent DeRosa, John Cave (French horn); Milt Bernhart, Dick Noel, Dick Nash , William Schaefer, Gilbert Falco, Eddie Kusby, Joe Howard, Quentin Jackson, Tommy Pederson , Tommy Shepard, Jimmy Priddy, Britt Woodman, Lloyd Ulyate (trombone); George Roberts , Karl de Karske (bass trombone); Juan Tizol, John Sanders (valve trombone); Red Callender (tuba); Paul "Scooby" Smith, Duke Ellington, Lou Levy (piano); Milt Holland (glockenspiel); Frank Emilio Flynn (drums, percussion); Bill Richmond, Alvin Stoller, Sam Woodyard, Irving Cottler (drums); Emil Radocchia (percussion).
Liner Note Author: James Gavin.
Recording information: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA (02/09/1956-10/21/1964); Fine Sound, New York, NY (02/09/1956-10/21/1964); Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA (02/09/1956-10/21/1964).
Illustrator: Jim Salvati.
Arrangers: Paul "Scooby" Smith; Nelson Riddle; Paul Weston; Billy Strayhorn; Billy May; Buddy Bregman.
The late Ella Fitzgerald is rightly recognized as one of America's greatest singers--jazz or otherwise--and her appeal spans decades and generations; in Duke Ellington's words, she is "beyond category." Her elegant, crystal-clear phrasing and joyous, persuasive sense of swing made her a favorite of Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and many others. VERY BEST OF THE SONGBOOKS presents a sampling of Ella's finest recordings as she interprets classic American standards as only she can, with assistance from some of the finest musical arrangers America has ever produced--Nelson Riddle, Billy May, and the Duke, among them. VERY BEST OF THE SONGBOOKS is a nice introduction for those not yet ready to indulge in each of Ella's specific songbook albums, but a cursory listen to what's on offer here should send any listener right back to the record shop to pick up what they've been missing for so long. This is timeless stuff.