Fine Fitzgerald sings perfect Porter
The late great Ella Fitzgerald had probably the best jazz voice ever put down on tape.
This collection of Cole Porter songs was the first of the “Song Book” collection issued by Verve and was so successful that they followed it up with an Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart collections, though in my opinion the Porter song book is the best.
The recordings were laid down in 1956, the year after Porter’s final Broadway musical, Silk Stockings, opened. Ella recorded them with the Buddy Bregman orchestra at Capitol Studios, L.A.
The one flaw (if it is a flaw) with this set is that almost all the songs are so commonly recorded that you find yourself comparing them to other artists. Unsurprisingly Ella’s voice compares well, some of the orchestrations are, however, not quite up to later standards as those by such masters as Nelson Riddle. Don’t mistake me, Buddy Bergman did a fine job for 1956 but at times the orchestration seems dated and at others tries a little too hard to keep up with Ella.
The style of the tracks varies greatly, according to the mood of the song. Ella picks up the beat and syncopation in such masterpieces as “You’re The Top” and slows and sexifies the voice in “I Love Paris” and “Love For Sale.” Overall the collection has a mellow, jazzy feel that varies between romantic and downright sexy.
If you are looking for a good collection to load into the CD player for a romantic dinner, a quiet night watching the lights on Sydney Harbour with a brandy in one hand or just appreciate the varied styles and depth of talent of Miss Ella Fitzgerald then it is hard to go past this two CD set.