Michael Fremer Rated 9/11 Music, 9/11 Sonics!
Ella's 1960 Verve holiday album - featuring "Frosty The Snow Man", "Winter Wonderland", "Sleigh Ride" and many more - has been a swingin' yuletide tradition for over 60 years. The album was recorded in the summer of 1960, with a studio orchestra arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol. An ebullient Ella Fitzgerald exudes warmth, spirit and good cheer, as if to ask: Why not the peace and good will of Christmas the year 'round? These twelve happy, winter songs suggest that yours be a Swinging Christmas - anytime, all the time!
Seeking to offer definitive audiophile grade versions of some of the most historic and best jazz records ever recorded, Verve Label Group and Universal Music Enterprises' audiophile Acoustic Sounds vinyl reissue series utilizes the skills of top mastering engineers and the unsurpassed production craft of Quality Record Pressings. All titles are mastered from the original analog tapes, pressed on 180-gram vinyl and packaged by Stoughton Printing Co. in high-quality gatefold sleeves with tip-on jackets.
Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas is a charming, warmly humorous - and yes, swinging - set of classic Christmas tunes. As always, Norman Granz's production avoids the schlock that drowns some holiday sets. This is as good as jazz Christmas albums get.
Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas album is a secular holiday delight sure to please every listener, even atheists and agnostics. Originally released in 1960, the sound here is warm and inviting as a Yule log burning in the fireplace - once you get past the opener 'Jingle Bells', which is somewhat brighter, brasher and more in your face than the rest, though having Ella in your face is hardly problematic. Ella is front and center, closely mic'd and with just a kiss of reverb producing an exciting sense of her in the room. Frank DeVol's sumptuous (but not too rich) swinging arrangements for a dozen Christmas favorites are sensibly hip and without gimmicks, so they don't at all sound dated sixty years after the four New York City summer sessions during which this album was recorded. Imagine Ella singing 'Let It Snow' during a hot New York summer. She makes it sound like December. The mix puts the orchestra more hard left/right than you'll hear in modern recordings but there's still plenty of center fill, producing a super-natural sonic picture... Rich, mellow sound, ear-pleasing arrangements, and of course Ella Fitzgerald's good cheer make this a Christmas season winner you're sure to play often at least until the 25th of December and perhaps beyond. And if this review sounds like advertising copy, so be it! Perfect QRP pressing too.
Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound wrapped the original analog tapes up in bright colored paper and set the music carefully under the Christmas tree to give us listeners a jolly ol' thrill come December 25th. You may have heard 'White Christmas' or 'Winter Wonderland' a dozen times before, but there's no way those other renditions have the same bracing snap and yule log glow as Ella's.
- Acoustic Sounds Series reissue from Verve/Universal Music Enterprises
- 180g Vinyl LP
- Mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound From Original Analog Tapes
- Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
- Stoughton Printing gatefold old-style tip-on jacket
- Jingle Bells
- Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
- What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
- Sleigh Ride
- The Christmas Song
- Good Morning Blues
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
- Winter Wonderland
- Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Frosty The Snow Man
- White Christmas