Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, great mutual admirers, team up for 16 songs from the famous George Gershwin opera. This may very well be the most satisfying jazz version of Porgy & Bess. Russ Garcia's arrangements for the large orchestra work very well with the two singers.
This CD edition contains the complete classic version of Gershwins Porgy & Bess by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, one of the true gems of jazz history. As a bonus, are added two rarely heard duets recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl in 1956.
01. Overture (10:52)
02. Summertime (4:58)
03. I Wants to Stay Here (4:37)
04. My Man's Gone Now (4:02)
05. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin' (3:52)
06. Buzzard Song (2:58)
07. Bess, You Is My Woman Now (5:29)
08. It Ain't Necessarily So (6:34)
09. What You Want Wid Bess? (1:59)
10. A Woman Is a Sometime Thing (4:47)
11. Oh, Doctor Jesus (2:00)
12. Medley (3:29):
Here Come de Honey Man
Oh, Dey's So Fresh and Fine (Strawberry Woman)
13. There's a Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon
For New York (4:54)
14. Oh Bess, Oh Where's My Bess? (2:36)
15. Oh, Lawd, I'm on My Way! (2:56)
16. You Won't Be Satisfied (3:53) (*) Bonus Track
17. Undecided (3:39) (*) Bonus Track
Total time: 74:09 min.
Tracks #1-15 originally issued in album as
Ella Fitzgerald / Louis Armstrong "Porgy and Bess"
(Verve MGVS 6040-2)
Ella Fitzgerald (vcl), Louis Armstrong (tp, vcl),
Orchestra arranged and conducted by Russell Garcia, probably including:
Frank Beach, Buddy Childers, Cappy Lewis (tp) Milt Bernhart, Marshall Cram, James Henderson, Lloyd Ulyate (tb) Vincent DeRosa (frh), Paul Smith (p) Tony Rizzi (g) Joe Mondragon (b) Alvin Stoller (d), Victor Arno, Robert Barene, Jacques Gasselin, Joseph Livoti, Dan Lube, Amerigo Marino, Bill Miller, Erno Neufeld, Marschall Sasson, Robert Sushel, Gerald Vinci, Tibor Zelig (vln) Myron Bacon, Abraham Hochstein, Raymond Menhennick, Myron Sandler (viola) Justin DiTullio, Kurt Reher, William Van Den Burg (cello), unknown mixed choir (vcl).
Recorded in Los Angeles, California, on August 18 & October 14, 1957.
Personnel on tracks #16-17:
Ella Fitzgerald (vcl), Louis Armstrong (tp, vcl), Tommy Young (tb), Edmond Halll (cl), Billy Kyle (p), Dale Jones (b) and Barrett Deems (d).
Recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl, California, on August 15, 1956.
"As the tracks progress, you think she is cutting Armstrong -only to turn around and believe that Armstrong is cutting her. The truth, of course, ¡s that they are outdoing themselves. This ¡s a Porgy performance you would- be ill-adviced to miss."
Gene Lees -Down Beat (1959)
"Producer Norman Granz oversaw two Porgy & Bess projects. The first involved Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, and came together during the autumn of 1957 with brassy big band and lush orchestral arrangements by Russ Garcia. This is the classic Verve Porgy & Bess, and it's been reissued many, many times. The second, recorded during the spring and summer of 1976 and issued by RCA, brought Ray Charles together with versatile British vocalist Cleo Laine, backed by an orchestra under the direction of Frank DeVol. [...] Those peasant songs, used in real life to purvey honey, strawberries, and crabs, were gathered and notated by George Gershwin and novelist Du Bose Heyward in 1934 during a visit to Folly Island, a small barrier island ten miles south of Charleston, SC, known today as Folly Beach. As Charleston Harbor had been one of the major ports during the importation of slaves from Africa, the waterfront was mostly populated by Gullahs, a reconstituted community that retained and preserved its ancestral cultures and languages to unusual degrees. Gershwin, who even learned to chant with the Gullah, absorbed the tonalities of the street cries he heard and wove them -along with all of the other impressions stored within his sensitive mind- into the fabric of his opera. What's really great about the Ella and Louis version is Ella, who handles each aria with disarming delicacy, clarion intensity, or usually a blend of both. Her take on "Buzzard Song" (sung 19 years later by Ray Charles) is a thrilling example of this woman's intrinsic theatrical genius. Pops sounds like he really savored each duet, and his trumpet work -not a whole lot of it, because this is not a trumpeter's opera- is characteristically good as gold. This marvelous album stands quite well on its own.
Arwulf Arwulf -All Music Guide