Recording information: LA, CA (08/16/1956-09/??/1957).
The Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong edition of Verve's long-running COMPACT JAZZ series of reissues condenses three remarkable albums--1955's ELLA AND LOUIS, 1956's ELLA AND LOUIS AGAIN, and 1958's PORGY AND BESS--into a fantastic 12-track collection. Of course, you could pick and random assortment of 12 tracks from these three discs and have a collection of fantastic merit, but these specific performances are particularly outstanding.
Opening with a swinging "They Can't Take That Away From Me," COMPACT JAZZ emphasizes the more playful side of the Fitzgerald/Armstrong collaborations, downplaying the more serious PORGY AND BESS material--a lovely take of "Summertime" an exception--in favor of giddy versions of standards like "I Won't Dance" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." There's an exuberant joy in this music that won't fail to charm even the most hard-hearted listener.