Most Ella Fitzgerald compilations focus on her later years as one of the grande dames of jazz vocals, but STARLIT HOUR is devoted to her late '30s work with the Chick Webb Orchestra and the big bands Fitzgerald led after Webb's 1939 death. Collected from a variety of sources, the tracks on this 11-song compilation are classic examples of big band swing. Spirited takes of "Lemon Drop," the novel "You've Got To Swing It Mr. Paganini," and her traditional scat showcase "How High the Moon" sound fresh and exciting, despite the occasionally poor fidelity. Fitzgerald, not yet out of her teens when she started with Webb, has a breathless, girlish enthusiasm in her high-pitched vocals, and the orchestra is one of the best of the second-tier big bands of the era. STARLIT HOUR is an excellent introduction to this period in Fitzgerald's career.
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