Analog Planet Rated 10/11 Music, 8/11 Sonics!
The very fact that America's biggest jazz label called one of their albums quite simply Ella and Louis indicates that we are talking about something very special here. And surely enough has been said - "Satchmo" and the grande dame of jazz certainly need no further introduction. In the '50s just the mere mention of their forenames was enough to light up the eyes of jazz fans. A glance at the tracklist reveals that tranquility rules the day: wild stomps and improvised scats will neither be sought nor missed. Of prime importance to the jazz ballad is a feeling of 'letting oneself drift' in the inspiration which gushes forth from the minds of genial American songwriters.
The background combo, made up of first-class musicians and led by Oscar Peterson, performs with great concentration and almost obtrusive unobtrusiveness. Verve's highly successful producer Norman Granz decided quite deliberately to make the recording in the studio instead of at a live session. And success has verified his judgment, for such vocal jazz knows only gentle tones - but the result is all the more intensive for that.
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.
This new production is exemplary overall. The pressing is top-notch, manufactured on thick, dark black 180g vinyl that is quiet and well-centered. Overall, Ella's warm, melted-buttery voice makes for a tasty contrast when poured over Pops' more angular salty popcorn-crunch vocals. Add in Satch's rich round trumpet playing, and you've got the formula for a sweet sonic taste sensation... Once again, UMe, through its Verve Records and Acoustic Sounds series, has delivered a reissue that is arguably better than the original in most every way. If you are a fan of these two legendary artists, you probably need this one in your collection ASAP.
Oscar Peterson and his trio (Herb Ellis on guitar and Ray Brown on bass) and drummer Buddy Rich serve as the backing band for the first ever recorded meeting of two established greats: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Those two were really the perfect foils for one another with his gravelly, peppery voice serving as the perfect counterpoint to her salty, bouncy tones. All the musicians keep this set of standards to a nice, moderate tempo, with just a touch of swing to keep things interesting.
- 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
|Louis Armstrong||vocals, trumpet|
- Can't We Be Friends
- Isn't This a Lovely Day
- Moonlight in Vermont
- They Can't Take That Away from Me
- Under a Blanket of Blue
- A Foggy Day
- Stars Fell on Alabama
- Cheek to Cheek
- The Nearness of You
- April in Paris