I was reading books to my daughter at Border's, when overhead I kept hearing the sweetest, purest, angelic voice singing to Louis Armstrong's playing. I knew it had to be Ella. Sure enough it was the best of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. I right away went and purchased the best CD of jazz I've ever heard. It's not just because the songs are popular again, because of movies like.."When Harry Met Sally." You just have to hear Ella and Louis together, they compliment each other. Her voice is pure and just so..perfect; his is raspy and undefinably cool. Truly a masterpiece for all time!
Who would have thought that it could have worked? The pitch-perfect, articulate, and yes, angelic voice of Ella Fitzgerald combined with the gravelly grunts and growls of Louis Armstrong...Two very different singers with very different styles getting together to record? But it does work, and the result is absolute perfection. The way Louis and Ella blend, harmonize, and play off each other is simply astounding to hear. And I think that's the secret of why these two superstars were such stellar musicians: They loved making music. Just listen to the fun they're having on "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Been Good to You." It's not only delightful, it's heavenly. Listen and lose yourself in the slow, unhurried harmonies of "Stars Fell on Alabama." And from the opening, emotion-packed trumpet statement of "Summertime," you know you're in for a powerful listening experience. It's rare that you find a musician who really, I mean REALLY loves...
With all due respect to some other reviewers, this is not "an album" made by Ella and Louis: it's a sampler comprising three Ella and Louis albums. Normally I would not even consider, say, a Sinatra anthology mixing three masterworks like "Only the Lonely," "In the Wee Small Hours," and "Come Fly with Me": each is a unique and integrally whole project. But I have the Ella and Louis LPs, so I picked up this compressed anthology to take some pressure off of the vinyl.
Like most "best-of" collections, it suffers a bit from uneven textures (the lush orchestration of "Summertime" seems like an intrusion on the intimate rapport established in the preceding numbers) and audio quality (variances in mics, mixing and engineering can be hard to disguise). So unless some of the tunes on this anthology seem absolutely essential, go with "Ella and Louis," if only for its more coherent, unified feel--like two supreme musical storytellers having an irresistable conversation in real time...
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