Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald, Tommy Flanagan, Frank De La Rosa, Ed Thigpen.
Originally released on Pablo (2308-234).
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Tommy Flanagan (piano); Ed Thigpen (drums).
Liner Note Author: Alain Tercinet.
Recording information: Theatre De Verdure, Nice, France (07/21/1971); Th‚ƒtre De Verdure, Nice, France (07/21/1971).
Unknown Contributor Role: Frank DeLaRosa.
A 1971 live recording, from when Ella Fitzgerald was still at the peak of her vocal powers, Ella … Nice isn't one of the vocalist's all-time greatest live recordings, but it's a very nice set placing her in the company in which she felt most comfortable, a simple piano/bass/drums trio led by her longtime musical partner, Tommy Flanagan. Most of the set list's time is taken up by themed medleys such as "Aspects of Duke," "The Bossa Scene," and "The Many Faces of Cole Porter" that are perfectly nice but, as medleys tend to be, a little disappointing. One would rather hear Ella work her magic on the entirety of "The Girl From Ipanema" or "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" than be teased with a verse and chorus. On the other hand, the opening "Night and Day" is simply outstanding. Opening slowly with an extended vamp by Flanagan and bassist Frank DeLaRosa, the song settles gracefully into a mellow groove, with Ella's patented scat solo a marvel of melodic improvisation. Though little in the following ten tracks reaches those heights (this was toward the end of that phase when Ella was unwisely covering pop hits of the day, and the set includes her takes on "Something" and "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," not to mention the actually entirely appropriate and well-done "Close to You"), Ella … Nice is an entirely pleasant diversion. ~ Stewart Mason