Personnel includes: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Billy May, Quincy Jones (conductor); Louis Armstrong (vocals); Bud Shank (alto saxophone, flute); Louis Jordan, Sonny Stitt, Benny Carter (alto saxophone); Ben Webster, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Illinois Jacquet, Flip Phillips, Lester Young, Frank Foster (tenor saxophone); Maurio Bauza, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Maynard Ferguson, Roy Eldridge (trumpet); J.J. Johnson, Urbie Green (trombone); Juan Tizol (valve trombone); Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson, Lou Levy, Count Basie (piano); Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Jim Hall (guitar); Joe Mondragon, Ray Brown (bass); Chick Webb, Alvin Stoller, Louis Bellson, Connie Kay, Stan Levey (drums); Ray Charles Singers (background vocals).
Compilation producers: Richard Seidel, Ben Young.
Recorded between 1936 and 1963. Includes liner notes by Phil Bailey.
Digitally remastered by Kevin Reeves (Universal Mastering Studios-East).
This is part of the Verve Records Ken Burns JAZZ series.
With cooperation from the Verve and Columbia Legacy catalogs, the Ken Burns Jazz series on CD individually spotlights the musical excellence of 22 jazz originators whose careers and influence are explored in Burns' PBS documentary Jazz. It's quite a stretch to compile the roughly seven-decade career of Ella Fitzgerald in 18 tracks, though this collection does an admirable job. The highlights start in 1938 with the Chick Webb Orchestra on "A-Tisket A-Tasket" and "Vote for Mr. Rhythm," and continue with one track from the '40s ("Flying Home") and eight tracks from the '50s (including her essential interpretations from the great American songbook and a duet with Louis Armstrong). The disc concludes with highlights from the early '60s, including "Mack the Knife," "How High the Moon," and "Shiny Stockings," a Count Basie date on Verve. While it's impossible to sum up the history of Ella on a single disc, the highlights on Ken Burns Jazz should make the novice listener interested enough to continue searching out more material. Taken in that context, this compilation performs its function; however, it contains nothing for aficionados. ~ Al Campbell