Entertainment Weekly - 4/30/93, p.53
"...FIRST LADY OF SONG is as much a tribute to [Verve founder] Norman Granz--and the overlooked role of marketing in the careers of aesthetic icons like Fitzgerald--as it is to the work of Granz's client..." - Rating: A
Q - 7/93, p.1064 Stars
- Excellent - "...By the '50s, the voice was in its prime: richly resonant and poised, and ready to record the definitive versions of the great American songbooks (Gershwin, Porter, Arlen etc.)...well chosen..."
JazzTimes - 8/93, p.63
"...[FIRST LADY OF SONG] makes one hell of an initial visual impact....the sound reproduction is generally good..."
Personnel includes: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals), Louis Armstrong (vocals, trumpet), Ben Webster (tenor saxophone), Charlie Parker, Bill Doggett (alto saxophones), Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Stuff Smith (violin), Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Tommy Flannagan, Oscar Peterson (piano), Jim Hall, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel (guitars).
Includes previously unreleased material.
This is packaged in a hardcover book that contains more than sixty pages of essays on Ella Fitzgerald's life and music, as well as photographs and reproductions of all her Verve LP cover art.
THE BEST OF ELLA FITZGERALD: FIRST LADY OF SONG contains highlights from the FIRST LADY OF SONG 3-CD set on Verve (517 898).
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals).
Liner Note Author: Geoffrey Mark Fidelman.
Comprising 16 of the 51 tracks (one-third) from the original First Lady of Song three-CD collection, this edited single disc is for those disinclined to purchase the full set or complete works. It might be advisable first to search for any full album sides of specific sessions or tributes to composers that Ella Fitzgerald had done, but this smaller compilation does contain some of her better songs, falling short of an essential greatest-hits or best-of effort. Such all-time classics as "Can't We Be Friends?," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'," "Baby, Don't You Go 'Way Mad," "I Won't Dance," and "Don't Be That Way" are definitive Ella, and are included. The bargain hunter in you might find this at a good price, but saving up for the larger sets should be your aim. ~ Michael G. Nastos