Entertainment Weekly - 6/28-7/5/96, p.107
"In terms of tonal beauty, Fitzgerald's voice was its most sublime from the mid'50s to early '60s, during which she recorded the landmark 'songbook' albums..." - Rating: A
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Stuff Smith (violin); Paul Smith, Oscar Peterson (piano); Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis (guitar); Ray Brown, Joe Mondragon (bass); Alvin Stoller (drums); Buddy Bregman Orchestra, Nelson Riddle Orchestra, Billy May Orchestra, Paul Weston Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Compilation producer: Michael Lang.
Recorded between 1956 and 1964. Includes liner notes by Bret Primack.
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Gerald Vinci, James Getzoff, Felix Slatkin, Erno Neufeld, Benny Gill, Jacques Gasselin, Lou Raderman, Murray Kellner, Alex Beller, Marshall Sosson, Israel Baker, Nathan Ross (vocals, violin); Victor Bay, Victor Arno, Eudice Shapiro (vocals); Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Bob Bain (guitar); Corky Hale, Kathyrine Julye, Veryle Brilhart (harp); Dan Lube (violin, cello); Misha Russel, Joe Stepansky, Stuff Smith, Walter Edelstein (violin); Armand Karpoff (viola, cello); Barbara Simons, Alex Neimann, Paul Robyn, Stanley Harris, Alvin Dinkin, Virginia Majewski (viola); Robert LaMarchina, George Neikrug, Edgar Lustgarten, Kurt Reher, Eleanor Slatkin, Ray Kramer (cello); Ted Nash (flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Harry Klee (flute, woodwinds); Bud Shank (flute, alto saxophone); Tommy Shepard (flute, trombone); Harry Carney (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone); Bob Cooper (clarinet, oboe, English horn, tenor saxophone); Herb Geller, Russell Procope (clarinet, alto saxophone); Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor saxophone); George "Harmonica" Smith, Abe Most, Fred Stulce, Buddy DeFranco (clarinet); Chuck Gentry (bass clarinet, bassoon, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone); Arnold Koblentz (oboe, English horn); Norman Benno (oboe, bassoon); Seymour Schoneberg (oboe); Howard Terry, Lloyd W. Hildebrand (bassoon); Jules Jacob, Champ Webb, Gene Cipriano, Henry Beau, William Smith , Joe Koch, Justin Gordon, Wilbur Schwartz, Buddy Collette (woodwinds); Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter (alto saxophone); Frank Foster , Paul Gonsalves, Plas Johnson , Babe Russin, Ben Webster (tenor saxophone); Clark Terry, Manny Klein, Conrad Gozzo , Don Fagerquist, Carroll Lewis, Harry "Sweets" Edison , George Seaberg, Vito Mangano, Dale McMickle, Maynard Ferguson, Pete Candoli, Ray Nance, Shorty Baker, Shorty Sherock, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson (trumpet); James A. Decker, William Hinshaw, Vincent DeRosa, John Cave (French horn); Milt Bernhart, Richard L. Noel, Dick Nash , Joe Howard, Quentin Jackson, Tommy Pederson , John Sanders, Britt Woodman, Lloyd Ulyate (trombone); George Roberts , Karl de Karske (bass trombone); Duke Ellington, Lou Levy, Oscar Peterson, Paul Smith (piano); Milt Holland (vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone, timpani, tubular bells); Emil Richards (marimba, percussion); Frank Flynn , Alvin Stoller, Sam Woodyard, Irving Cottler (drums); Emil Radocchia (percussion).
Audio Remasterer: Phil Schaap.
Liner Note Author: Bret Primack.
Recording information: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA (02/07/1956-10/02/1964); Fine Recording, New York, NY (02/07/1956-10/02/1964); New York, NY (02/07/1956-10/02/1964); Radio Recorders Studio 10th, Hollywood, CA (02/07/1956-10/02/1964).
Editor: Peter Pullman.
Illustrator: Jeff Fulvimari.
Photographer: Herman Leonard.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Duke Ellington; Harry Carney; Nelson Riddle; Phil Schaap; Ben Young; Tommy Shepard; Buddy Bregman.
Arrangers: Walter Sheets; Nelson Riddle; Paul Weston; Billy May; Buddy Bregman.
Beginning in the mid-'50s, Ella Fitzgerald and producer Norman Granz began the Songbook series, a string of albums devoted to the works of classic American songwriters like Duke Ellington, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen and George and Ira Gershwin. LOVE SONGS: BEST OF THE VERVE SONGBOOKS is a wonderful, though far from comprehensive, precis of these indispensable albums. With backing from the orchestras of Ellington, Count Basie, Nelson Riddle and Billy May, Fitzgerald performs magnificent, often definitive, versions of some of the greatest pop songs ever written. Ellington's "Prelude To A Kiss" and Rodgers and Hart's "Lover" are only two of the many highlights, but the entire album is a glorious sampling of some of the best work by one of jazz's most gifted vocalists.