Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); The Delta Rhythm Boys (vocals); Ulysses Livingston, Hy White, Carl Hogan , Remo Palmieri (guitar); Pete Clark, Chauncey Houghton (clarinet, alto saxophone); Peanuts Hucko (clarinet); Sid Cooper, George Dorsey (alto saxophone); Teddy McRae (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Sid Rubin, Elmer "Skippy" Williams, Sam Simmons, Al Sears, Josh Jackson, Harold Feldman (tenor saxophone); Ralph Muzillo, Louis Ruggiero, Irving "Mouse" Randolph, Aaron Izenhall, Taft Jordan, Dick Vance, Charlie Shavers (trumpet); William Pritchard, Earl Hardy, John McConnell, Lou McGarity, George Matthews (trombone); Tommy Fulford, Buddy Weed, Moe Wechsler, Rene Deknight, Wild Bill Davis (piano); George Wettling, Eddie Byrd, Irv Kluger, Jesse Price, Bill Beason, Buddy Rich (drums).
Liner Note Author: Peter Gamble.
Recording information: Los Angeles, CA (09/25/1940-10/12/1945); New York, NY (09/25/1940-10/12/1945).
Director: Vic Schoen.
Unknown Contributor Role: Charlie Fuqua.
The final disc in a five-volume series from the obscure British label Acrobat, The Legendary, Vol. 5 concentrates on the series of early-'40s sides recorded by Ella Fitzgerald after she assumed control of Chick Webb's Orchestra upon the leader's premature death. Early in her solo career Ella was recording a mix of ballads and up-tempo material; while later in her career she would excel at both, the faster songs here are mostly novelties of small worth (forward to "Melinda the Mousie" for all the evidence you can handle), though she could swing in varying settings ("Stone Cold Dead in de Market," "Flying Home"). Highlights come with the wealth of ballad material, including "Taking a Chance on Love," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," and "The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)." For the collectors who want all of her material, there's the excellent chronological series on Classics, while listeners new to Ella will far prefer a less exhausting collection. ~ John Bush