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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 29 December 2003
"Ella and Basie!" is a triumph in most respects. A monumental meeting of three giants of swing music.
First of all, not much needs to be said at all of the personnel involved, other than it meets the high standards already set by all involved. The band are on no less than top form, and absolutely breeze through the material, tighter than ever.
This represents possibly the best ever, in my opinion, of the New Testament Basie band: The rhythm section by now, have established a close rapport and support the band superbly, the understated/underrated chunking of Freddie Green's guitar, the exuberant rock solid thumping of Sonny Payne's drums, and the charismatic touches of Basie's piano, it's all here. As explained in the new liner notes, the Count often used a subbing pianist to imitate his style, but not at this session.
This album acts as the perfect antidote to the going-through-the-motions feel that sometimes was felt with Ella's preceding series of Songbooks: Ella is ecstatic, and nothing but spot on in every respect. Unlike in the songbook albums, she is allowed free-reign, and this culminates in countless scat exchanges between her and the band, or her and a particular soloist, such as Thad Jones, Joe Newman or Frank Foster (all of which shine throughout).
The arrangements by Quincy Jones were a healthy change for Ella from the swing arrangements (Paul Weston, Buddy Bregman, Nelson Riddle) she had used for the past eight years, being bluesy and brimming over with sizzling ensemble passages, just up the Basie Band's street.
The production on the album could not have been better, in my opinion. Norman Granz, who was responsible for the concept, has given us a dry, clean sound, devoid of reverb and extraneous noise that might clutter the slick sound.
And this sumptous reissue comes to us complete with six extra tracks, complete with studio chatter and false starts, etc.
At this point in time, a year after the Beatles had hit the charts for the first time, and in the middle of Elvismania, who might expect a rash last-hope grab by such Jazz stars, who have reigned supreme for so long. Especially Norman Granz, who has been criticised for making a commercial spectacle of Jazz music. But no. They did the best thing imaginable: A fresh revamping of some golden swing material, with two of the biggest veterans in their own fields.
It must have been a glorious sight to behold.
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Taking a break from the ongoing triumph that was the `Songbooks' series, Ella Fitzgerald teamed up with Count Basie to make this swinging album. Always a class act anyway, Ella always stepped up a gear when working with artists of equal stature (listen to her collaborations with Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington for example), and this is no exception.

Basie and band lay down a superbly swinging backing, perfect for Ella's voice. Ella gives it her all, and the results are just magical. Things are helped along by the presence of the great Quincy Jones, who did the arrangements.

The Album kicks off as it means to go on, with a swinging version of `Honeysuckle Rose'. I defy you to not be tapping your foot to this! The album then moseys on through a set of standards, including a wonderful version of `Dream a Little Dream Of Me' (Mama Cass? Nah, this song belonged to Ella. Also check out her earlier recording of the same number with Louis And the Sy Oliver orchestra), a couple of Duke Ellington numbers (`Satin Doll' and `I'm Beginning To See The Light') and the definitive version of Fats Waller's `Ain't Misbehaving'.

This delivers what it sets out to deliver - an album of fun. An album to get you up and dancing. An album to make you happy.

The digital remastering is superb, and the disk is nicely presented with a reproduction of the original sleeve and a booklet with a few notes about Ella, Basie and Verve records.

Five stars with no hesitation.
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on 25 July 2015
Ella & Basie with support from Quincy Jones as arranger. It can't be better. The music swings all the way. Ella shines through "Into each life some rain must fall" , she is a marvellous soul swinger. In the small group numbers she becomes an improvising scat musician as good as any horn blower. A classic album.
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on 1 September 2013
Well you can't go wrong when you get Basie and Ella together. This CD really gets me going and will give me a lift if I feel a bit "down". I can play it over and over again and never get fed up with it.
So glad that I finally decided to get it.
Thank You
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 September 2012
There are 18 tracks on this CD that Ella Fitzgerald made with the Count Basie orchestra in 1963, though only 12 different numbers, the other tracks being alternative takes of other numbers. All the numbers have a really solid beat, as we are used to hearing from the Count, and a couple are up-tempo, as we would probably expect. `Dream a little dream of me' is taken appropriately at a slow tempo: Ella is great but I could have done without the organ accompaniment! The two Duke Ellington compositions - `Satin doll' and `I'm beginning to see the light' - are great tunes and the performances are as good as any I've heard. There are two compositions by Thomas `Fats' Waller - `Honeysuckle rose' and `Ain't misbehavin''. We get three cracks at Haven Johnson's `My last affair' - I'd be happy with any of them. There's a little scat singing from Ella, but not that much. If you like Big Band music with vocals, this is a fine example.
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on 19 November 2010
Much underrated collection. I much prefer this to the Songbook albums which get greater critical attention. This sounds like everyone involved was having fun whereas some of the Songbooks had a bit of a production line feel. The singing and arrangements are fantastic and some of the playing is exceptional. This album benefits from less familiar songs. Recommended for all who like jazz, big band and swing.
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on 25 September 2013
Unlike songbook, Ella plays the songs in their own way. It's the best of Ella we can go. And the Basie orchestra is at its best. And the sound spectacular. The best. You must have it if you like Ella.

A diferencia de los songbook, Ella interpreta las canciones a su manera. Es de lo mejor de Ella que podemos ir. Y la orquesta de Basie está en su mejor momento. Y el sonido espectacular. De lo mejor. Debe tenerlo si le gusta Ella.
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on 3 January 2016
I bought it as back-up of my old LP. Ella and Basie swing nicely. This is my favourite recording of Ella. Highly recommended – as well as Amazon UK services :).
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on 9 December 2014
Both on top form. Terrific arrangements. If you're not sure just listen to the sample of "Dream a little dream of me" and you'll be hooked!!
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on 5 February 2016
Two great acts together I hadn't thought of the two together though I have seen Count Basie with other artists
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