Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Count Basie & Ella Fitzgerald Ella and Basie! Verve 1963
Obviously, the title alone should tell most people this is worthwhile. Outside of a couple of tracks prior to this release, this was the first time Ella Fitzgerald recorded with Count Basie. They would continue working together from time to time afterwards. Considering this was released in 1963, it's a bit surprising that the two hadn't done more work together, you would have thought they'd met up at the peak of their careers, not it's twilight. Which is kind of illustrated in the cover, it looks like two old folks having a chat at their retirement home.
That said, still and enjoyable album. Basie and Fitzgerald were both capable of doing their best work at this time, it was only their scene that was fading, not their talents. Like other Norman Granz supervised albums of the era, Granz tapped a young Quincy Jones to arrange. His arrangements are pretty tight and don't allow Basie to explore much. The focus of the album was clearly to showcase Ella. It's an easy album to listen to with a number of highlights.
On the Sunny Side of the Street