Personnel: Louis Armstrong (vocals); Freddy Green , Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel (guitar); Stuff Smith (violin); Ben Wester, Frank Foster, Stan Getz (tenor saxophone); Joe Newman (trumpet); Oscar Peterson, Paul Smith (piano); Count Basie, Urbie Green (organ); Joe Mondragon, Ray Brown , Buddy Catlett (bass instrument); Alvin Stroller, Louie Bellson, Sonny Payne, Buddy Rich (drums).
There is never a shortage, on any given year, of record industry Valentine's Day cash-ins, and ELLA FITZGERALD AND FRIENDS FOR LOVERS certainly falls under that category. Despite its status as a bit of a commercial ploy, however, the album achieves its aim in spades. There are few things dreamier and more romantic than Ella's honeyed, supple voice, and the song selection, which features heart-melting renditions of "Prelude to a Kiss," "Body and Soul," and "My One and Only Love," among others, is right on target. Superior arrangements and orchestrations, along with guest appearances from the likes of Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, Ben Webster, and Oscar Peterson, don't hurt either. Regardless of packaging, it's tough to go wrong with music this classic.