Friday, January 2, 2009

January 2: Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, "Ella & Louis"

Artist: Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Album: Ella & Louis
Year: 1956
Label: Verve

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong are music legends in their own rights. Put them in the same studio, and you can be sure that the results will be nothing short of perfection.

Recorded in August of 1956, Ella & Louis would become the first in a series of joint releases from these two musical giants. Combining the smooth, flawless sound of Fitzgerald, with Armstrong's unmistakable, raspy voice, the pairing works brilliantly.

Ella's vocals are simply perfect as always, though she sticks to the traditional arrangements and shows little of her trademark "scat" singing. Louis is in prime form, switching between his baritone vocals and playing short trumpet interludes. The backing band on the record is extremely aware of their role and do the smart thing by hiding in the corner and letting Ella & Louis "do their thing."

All of the songs on the record are of a slower, more downbeat tempo and, while it prevents from either singer really "letting loose," it also provides a clear portrait of just how stupefyingly gifted these two musical icons were.

After listening to Ella & Louis, you'll surely find yourself realizing how "less than talented" a vast majority of singers since truly are.

Standout tracks: "Moonlight In Vermont," "Cheek To Cheek," and "April In Paris."

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