Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Song Book
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- Released: October 28, 1997
- Originally Released: 1997
- Label: Polygram Records
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Personnel includes: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Nelson Riddle (arranger, conductor); Plas Johnson, Babe Russin (tenor saxophone); Carroll Lewis, Vito Mangano, George Seaberg, Shorty Sherock, John Audino (trumpet); Dick Nash, Tommy Pederson, Milt Bernhart, Gilbert Falco, Tommy Shepard (trombone); George Roberts (bass trombone); John Cave, James Decker, William Henshaw (French horn); Buddy Collette, Harry Klee (flute); Buddy DeFranco, Abe Most (clarinet); Norman Benno, Seymour Schoneberg (oboe); Lloyd Hildebrand, Howard Terry (bassoon); Katharine Julyie (harp); Paul Smith (piano); Barney Kessel (guitar); Joe Comfort (bass); Irving Cottler (drums); Emil Radocchia (percussion).
Recorded at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California on October 19-21, 1964. Originally released on Verve (4067). Includes liner notes by Samuel Brylawski and Benny Green.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
This is part of the Verve Master Edition series.
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Buddy DeFranco (clarinet); Willie Smith (alto saxophone); Plas Johnson (tenor saxophone); Paul Smith (piano); Frank Flynn (vibraphone).
Liner Note Author: Gary Giddins.
Recording information: 10/19/1964-10/21/1964.
Unknown Contributor Role: Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra.
Arranger: Nelson Riddle.
Along with her Rodgers and Hart collection, this is one of the best of Ella Fitzgerald's songbooks. Fitzgerald's assured and elegant voice is a perfect match for Mercer's urbane lyrics and Nelson Riddle's supple arrangements. In light of this decorous setting, it's not surprising that Mercer's swagger-heavy numbers like "I Wanna Be Around" and "One More For My Baby" are skipped in favor of more poised selections such as "Early Autumn" and "Skylark." Even traditionally hard-swinging numbers such as "Day In Day Out" and "Something's Gotta Give" are kept in check with Riddle's vaporous, flute-heavy backing and Fitzgerald's velvet tone. Slower numbers like "Laura" and "Midnight Sun" add dramatic contrast with their enigmatic tonal backdrops and elongated vocal phrasing. Fitzgerald's Mercer songbook has become something of an overlooked gem partly because of the popularity of her Cole Porter and Gershwin collections. It's a shame, because this songbook is beautifully executed by Fitzgerald and Riddle and contains wonderful Mercer collaborations with, among others, Harold Arlen and Hoagy Charmichael. This is definitely one for any Fitzgerald fan and not a bad introduction to her vast catalog. ~ Stephen Cook
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