Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Joe Pass (guitar).
Recorded at Group IV Studios, Hollywood, California on March 21-22, 1983. Includes liner notes by Norman Granz.
Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (1987, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Voice and guitar albums are arguably the trickiest projects to pull off in jazz. With no rhythm section to weight the music, the results can often float off into the ether, leaving the listener trying to remember what the album sounded like 30 seconds after it ends. No such problems plague SPEAK LOVE by Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, a 1982 voice-and-guitar session with more than enough musical heft. Fitzgerald, of course, is one of the greatest singers in jazz history, but Pass is more than her equal on this album. His fluid, bop-influenced style is less evanescent than that of many jazz guitarists. Rather than playing in a strictly melodic style, Pass subtly emphasizes the rhythm behind the melodies, creating a sense of forward motion missing from most solo jazz guitar showcases. The combination of Pass's peerless guitar work and Fitzgerald's outstanding voice makes SPEAK LOVE a deeply satisfying listen.