Personnel includes: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Billy May (arranger, conductor); Ted Nash, Benny Carter (alto saxophone); Plas Johnson (tenor saxophone); Chuck Gentry (baritone saxophone); Don Fagerquist, Frank Beach,
Conrad Gozzo, Joseph Triscari (trumpet); Milt Bernhart, Dick Nash, Edward Kusby, Richard Noel (trombone); George Roberts (bass trombone); Justin Gordon, Wilbur Schwartz, Henry Beau, Jules Jacobs (woodwinds); Emil Richards (vibraphone); Paul Smith. Lou Levy (piano); John Collins, Al Hendrickson, Herb Ellis (guitar); Joe Mondragon, Wilfred Middlebrooks (bass); Alvin Stoller (drums).
Producer: Norman Granz.
Reissue producer: Bryan Koniarz.
Recorded At Capitol Records and Radio Recorders Annex, Hollywood, California in August 1960 & January 1961. Originally released on Verve (4046). Includes original liner notes by Edward Jablonski and reissue liner notes by Doug Ramsey.
Digitally remastered by Suha Gur & Andrew Nicholas (PolyGram Studios).
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Herb Ellis, Al Hendrickson (guitar); Veryle Brilhart (harp); Gerald Vinci, Mischa Russell, Erno Neufeld, Benny Gill, Jacques Gasselin, Lou Raderman, Murray Kellner, Joe Stepansky, Dan Lube, Marshall Sosson, Israel Baker, Nathan Ross (violin); Paul Robyn, Alvin Dinkin, Virginia Majewski (viola); Armand Karpoff, Edgar Lustgarten, Eleanor Slatkin, Ray Kramer (cello); Jules Jacob, Henry Beau, Justin Gordon, Wilbur Schwartz (woodwinds); Benny Carter (alto saxophone); Plas Johnson (tenor saxophone); Conrad Gozzo , Don Fagerquist, Frank Beach (trumpet); Milt Bernhart, Richard L. Noel, Eddie Kusby (trombone); George Roberts (bass trombone); Paul Andrew Smith, Lou Levy (piano); Emil Richards (vibraphone); Alvin Stoller (drums).
Liner Note Authors: Edward Jablonski; Doug Ramsey.
Recording information: Capitol Records, Los Angeles, CA (08/01/1960-01/14/1961); Radio Recorders Annex, Hollywood, CA (08/01/1960-01/14/1961).
Photographers: Phil Stern; Herman Leonard.
Arrangers: Walter Sheets; Billy May.
Ella Fitzgerald's idea to sing the songbooks of major writers proved smart, savvy, and artful. By the time she began to record Sings the Harold Arlen Song Book in 1960, she had sung the songbooks of Duke Ellington, Rodgers & Hart, and Irving Berlin. This relaxed and tastefully arranged set showcases Fitzgerald in her prime, confidently engaging 28 of Arlen's best songs. Familiar pieces like "One for My Baby" and "That Old Black Magic" make appearances, along with all-time classics like "Stormy Weather" and "Over the Rainbow." On this latter tune, she adds the front verses, an appealing addition that few will be familiar with. Billy May's orchestra lays down a quiet mix of horns and strings that perfectly supports Fitzgerald on songs like "When the Sun Comes Out" and "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe." Four bonus tracks, including two alternative cuts, spice up the package. A particular oddity, "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead," converts surprisingly well into big-band jazz. The attractive CD set also includes the original album cover, an outline of a face drawn by Henri Matisse. Sings the Harold Alden Song Book is an exquisite album, a classic in vocal jazz, and one of Fitzgerald's best recordings. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.