Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Tommy Flanagan, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Zoot Sims (saxophone); Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet); Clark Terry (flugelhorn); Joe Pass (guitar); Ray Brown (bass); Louis Bellson (drums).
Recorded at MGM Studios, Los Angeles, January 8, 1974. Includes liner notes by Leonard Feather.
Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (1987, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley California).
"Fine and Mellow" is one of those jazz standards that's so oft-recorded that it can't be claimed by any particular singer. However, it fits one of Ella Fitzgerald's most distinctive performing styles so well, and even acts as a description of it, that its use as the title of this collection is only natural.
This 1974 date, with Fitzgerald backed by a smallish combo led by her usual pianist Tommy Flanagan and featuring exquisite guitarist Joe Pass, is a fine and mellow delight. Fitzgerald is in slow-burn mode here; although the performances are never particularly intense, there's a confident mastery exhibited throughout. Featuring standards written by her recently-deceased friend and collaborator Duke Ellington, like "I'm Just a Lucky So and So" and "Rockin' in Rhythm," alongside a spine-tingling version of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," FINE & MELLOW is a graceful, almost elegiac, session.