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4.8 out of 5 stars56
4.8 out of 5 stars
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In any rational list of the 20th-century's top song-stylists, Ella Fitzgerald would have to rank in the Top 5. Ella had a wonderful, distinct voice and style. Many singers have great skills. Many have perfect pitch and great intonation. But very few singers can use their voice like a fine instrument. Ella was one of those select few.

Apart from having a wonderful voice, Ella was next to incomparable when it came to interpreting lyrics. It is no wonder that lyricists loved her and were ecstatic when she covered one of their songs. It is also no wonder that during the course of her career Ella recorded various "Song Books" in which she took the work of a great composer/lyricist and dedicated an album or two to their work. Ella did Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Rodgers & Hart, the Gershwins', and Jerome Kern song books among others. They are all wonderful to listen to, all 5-star performances (with the possible exception of the Gershwin song book) but my favorite of all her song books is this one: "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book".

Although the first half of the 20th century had a surplus of great songwriters (see the above) there was something about Cole Porter's that has kept those lyrics fresh and even edgy in the 21st-century. The pairing of Fitzgerald and Porter then is the equivalent of the perfect. A lyricist whose lyrics are funny, witty, charming and, yes, poetic and a singer capable of doing justice to those great lyrics makes for a memorable CD.

This is a 2-CD set (the product description lists it incorrectly as 4). It contains an awful lot of Porter's great songs. Anything Goes, Too Darn Hot, Let's Do it, and I'm Always True to You in My Fashion are my highlights for CD-1. Night and Day, I've Got You Under My Skin, Love for Sale, and You're the Top, top off CD-2. Ella recorded these in 1956, exactly half a century ago under the auspices of the wonderful producer Norman Granz. Verve Records has restored the masters and the sound quality is excellent for a re-mastered recording.

Cole Porter once said that "In olden days a glimpse of stockings, was looked on as something shocking, Now heaven knows, anything goes." Well, all these decades later these songs go great with anything. You can enjoy them "in the still of the night" or "all through the night". These songs "do something to me" and I can say nothing more than this CD is the tops, it's the Tower of Pisa, it's the smile on the Mona Lisa.

If you can find this available, do yourself a favor and buy it, then sit back and enjoy.
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VINE VOICEon 6 February 2005
Ella is always a pleasure to listen to, but Ella with classy material is something special. This is what you get on this double album. The "Song Book" series is renown and this is arguably the best.
I own the earlier CD releases as well as this later double album. There is a difference in the sound as a result of the re-mastering but I would not like to say which sounds the better. I do wonder why Verve bothered to re-master when the originals still sound wonderful but do not let this consideration of fine judgement prevent you from buying a great album.
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on 19 February 2005
If you are a jazz fan, you've heard most of the songs on this album a hundred times in a thousand different versions, mostly as instrumentals. Now is your chance to hear them as Cole Porter wrote them and, in particular, to pay attention to the lyrics. Porter's powerful poetry would often be banned in today's politcally correct world. Thank god we still have these recordings.
We all have a tendency to think that Sinatra put down the official american songbook soundtrack (please **** off, Rod Stewart, Jaimie whatsit, Bubley and all the rest of you new converts) but Ella's recordings sit side by side with the Chairman of the Board's.
None of Ella's fantastic scat here. Just plain straight forward singing of the songs of one of the 20th century's greatest composers with wonderful arrangements and a fantastic diction which makes printed lyrics unnecessary.
We can all complain about the Cole Porter songs that are missing from this set, but it is wonderful. A couple of tracks with 1950s latin feel have aged enormously, but the majority is just plain brilliant.
If you are a musician you will agree tha Cole Porter's are amongst the most difficult standards to play. Ella will give you a lesson in simplicity that you will never forget.
Just listen to Miss Otis Regrets. This is clearly a desert island disc.
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on 26 April 2003
Ella with her voice...Louis with his trumpet... every single song on this album warms the heart and puts you in the mood for a cuddle by the fire. Brilliantly put together, the songs are slow and smooth; an ideal gift for valentine's. Without a doubt somthing to be played with your significant other during a romantic, moonlit dinner. A must for hopeless romantics!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 November 2011
Ella Fitzgerald had (for me) probably the voice nearest to perfection of any singer, in terms of its purity. To then combine this voice with 32 Cole Porter songs creates an outstanding set of recordings. If, like me, you often forget (or, indeed, never knew) who composed all 'those old classic' songs sung by Ella and Frank Sinatra, and even played by jazzmen Oscar Peterson and Charlie Parker, you will probably find Porter wrote a good number of them.

Recorded in 1956 with Buddy Bregman's orchestra, and under the auspices of Norman Granz's Verve label, this album contains 32 (plus 3 alternative takes) of Porter's magical songs, including All Through The Night, I Get A Kick Out Of You, Just One Of Those Things, From This Moment On, I Love Paris, You're The Top and I've Got You Under My Skin. It also contains a great version of possibly my all-time favourite song, Ev'rytime Time We Say Goodbye - and a version which challenges that of John Coltrane as possibly the most sublime of all.

A landmark album.
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on 5 February 2010
I was over the moon to find this Ella and Louis CD. In 1956 I bought the LP, as a present for my
girl friend, it increased her interest in jazz, and in me, fortuneatly. so we got married.
It is a truly great and romantic record, the voices of Ella's silky voice, contrasts with Louis gravely
voice,with their masterly ability to swing and blend,backed by the the great Oscar Peterson Trio, Ray Brown,
Herb Ellis, plus Buddy Rich, a jazz fan could not ask for more. After 50+ years the LP was very tired.
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If ever there were magic caught on a recording, it happened on one day in August 1956 in Los Angeles when these six musicians worked together to produce it. Ella and Louis are the vocalists, Louis alternating on trumpet. The Oscar Peterson Trio and Buddy Rich, drums complete the sextet. The tracks, all perennial favorites at the time, are ensured of immortality by this recording. All items are slow moving, but such is the buoyant, easy rhythm these artists set you will find the effect is wonderfully invigorating. Australian and Californian listeners might agree with me that the sound of Louis Armstrong's trumpet playing is similar to the sound produced by an improvised arrangement of eucalyptus leaves on a player's lips.
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on 2 May 2001
This was one of the great recordings of all time showing off the range, depth and expression of Ella's astonishing voice. Unfortunately this re-master has lost all the warmth and subtlety that could be found on the original CD. (Yes, I do know it was originally on record.) It has brought Ella's voice forward and thinned it out. The whole balance has been tilted upwards with the brass sounding sharp and the violins almost without timbre. Most tragically of all, the unequalled expressive qualities of her voice, that knowingness, have been largely stripped away leaving only a singer with an astonishing ability to hit the right note.
Such a failing draws one towards the conclusion that the engineer was either not a fan of Ella or simply didn't understand her qualities. In short, the collection has been ruined. Because this is an album that should be in every record collection, my advice is to scour the secondhand record shops for the individual CDs. That suggestion becomes an imperative if you have spent money on your hi-fi system and are expecting more rather than less from this re-master.
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on 26 November 2000
This CD shows off the talents of Ella and 'Satchmo' at their peak. Sounding wonderfully relaxed and enjoying themselves immensely, this recording presents some of the greatest jazz standards in probably the best setting you will ever hear. Forget the "best jazz album" compliations - buy this and see what 'best' really means.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 November 2010
This is a wonderful collection of 32 tracks (+ 3 alternative takes) of some of the best of the tunes of Cole Porter. The erotic `Love for sale' is here, the boisterous `You're the top' from Anything Goes, the romantic ballad `In the still of the night' in an up-tempo version, the wistful `Ev'ry time we say goodbye', and the `evergreens' `Night and day', `So in love', `Just one of those things' and many more.
I could find nothing at all wrong with the sound quality of the recordings. To have the clarity of digital remastering, and be able to have 16 Porter numbers regaling me one after another without `turning over' the disc and without all the clicks and plops that used to make listening to LPs so irritating - heaven! Buddy Bregman's orchestra, long time accompanist for Crosby, provides a more than adequate backing appropriate to the many moods of the pieces. First rate!
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