Truth Universally Acknowledged

The title of this blog is an obvious reference to my favourite author, Jane Austen. My other great inspiration is Ella Fitzgerald. I intend this site to be general musings about things which interest me, and hopefully you as well.

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

I'm a girl in her twenties living in New Zealand - of Irish and Scottish descent. I'm married to a wonderful guy and we live in a tiny house in the suburbs with a menagerie of soft toys and model aircraft. My main occupations at the moment are attempting to become and author and surviving my day job... wish me luck!


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Tuesday, 12 April 2005

CD Review: Ella and Louis, Ella and Louis Again (both Verve)

Rarely do you have so much genius in one studio at one time. Ella Fitzgerald, The First Lady of Song, Louis Armstrong, Legend of Improv with voice and trumpet, Oscar Peterson, one of the greatest pianists of all time (and his band) and Norman Granz, the record producer from 'Nam. It's a mix that brings together musical heaven. The team worked their magic on songs by Berlin, Gershwin, Kern and several other greats. And then they got together a year later to do it again.

If I ever need to get in a better mood, or enjoy my current one, all I need is one of these CDs. The best of them, for me, is the camaraderie between Ella and Louis, and their inherent feeling for where each is taking the song. The upbeat numbers are bright with swing and scat, and the slower tunes are a mix of Ella's smooth tones and Louis' growls. The trumpet sings resonantly throughout.

A few highlights from each disc. Number one: the front cover of the first CD, particularly Louis with that big grin and those bright white socks. Classic. The first track "Can't We Be Friends" is a wonderful upbeat battle of the sexes kind of number, which you can't help but sing along to. "Isn't it a Lovely Day" will give you a new appreciation for rain. "The Nearness of You" is just a beautiful song. The beauty of having both vocalists sing the song through, and also a trumpet solo, means that the songs are a generous length.

"Don't Be That Way" starts off the second album in grand style. You wonder why you ever let these songs leave your CD player. A particular highlight is "Stompin' At The Savoy". Norman Granz explains that the version on the CD was actually the rehearsal, with both vocalists freely going off on their own tangents. It was "so spontaneously exciting that we decided to keep it". The next track "I Won't Dance" is peppered with hilarious Louis phrases like, "I'm not asbestos, honey!". My final highlight would have to be "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off". This song has been done so many times, but this version has to be the ultimate. Ella: "You got pyjamas!"

What else can I say... buy them! You won't be disappointed. NB: There are other albums of these two together - such as "Ella and Louis Sing Gershwin" and a "Best Of" from the two I own. I also have the "Porgy and Bess" album. You can't go wrong no matter what you pick.

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