What is it that makes Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) one of the most celebrated jazz musicians of all time? Was it “the diction which satisfied even the fastidious Cole Porter; the ability to swing; the perfect intonation; the acute harmonic sense which gave her a dazzling ability to embellish a song without destroying its identity”? (The Times obituary) All these qualities are demonstrated in ‘Forever Ella’.
UCJ celebrate what would have been her 90th birthday (25th April) with the release of three new Ella Fitzgerald CDs; one a never before heard collection of love songs for the countless Ella enthusiasts, ‘Love Letters From Ella’, including some beautiful original arrangements with the London Symphony Orchestra; a fantastic tribute album entitled ‘We All Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song’ featuring a phenomenal roster of celebrated artists such as Diana Krall, kd lang, Natalie Cole and Chaka Kahn singing some of Ella’s best known tunes. And the first of the three is a perfect introduction to Ella Fitzgerald’s artistry for the newcomer: ‘Forever Ella’.
The 20 tracks on ‘Forever Ella’ include her best-loved successes such as Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye or Manhattan, a wonderful selection of evergreen standards from her glorious series of Songbooks by the great songwriters Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and so on. There are two duets with her favourite musical partner, Louis Armstrong, Summertime and They Can’t Take That Away From Me. Ella’s version of Cry Me A River has been given brand new backing from the London Symphony Orchestra recorded at Abbey Road, while two bonus tracks present her in contemporary atmospheric remixes.
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