This one has been kept really quiet. While PD issues of radio broadcasts of jazz concerts are quite common here in Europe, this escape is neither PD or taken from a radio broadcast. Instead, it finds Ella Fitzgerald in 1979 in The Hague giving an energetic set with a trio led by Paul Smith. Also, it not only features a fine sounding CD but comes with a DVD of the same show - something not mentioned in the Amazon listing. We already have Ella on DVD from 1979 with the Count Basie Orchestra, but this concert is much more intimate with just the trio setting. As always, her repertoire is varied, and we get the first official live airings on CD of There Will Never Be Another You, Dindi, Almost Like Being in Love - and a brand new Ella song in the theme from "Love Boat!". This was quite commonly performed by Ella at the time, but this is the first official release (she would perform the theme from "Neighbours" in concert a decade later!). Dindi is a lovely version - much better than from her Jobim songbook from a year later. Not only is Ella in good voice and spirits, she's also quite feisty, getting more annoyed with the press photographers as the performance progresses.
The liner noes by Jeroen de Valk are quite harsh. I much prefer Ella's voice during these "Pablo" years than during the Verve years. Sure, it's not as silky smooth, but the performances are alot jazzier in nature, even on the studio albums. And, like Sinatra, she used great imagination in overcoming any vocal shortcomings, making the performances more interesting. De Valk clearly doesn't agree, and I think is quite off the mark in his assessment of performances such as Satin Doll, which he says are more shouted than sung - which is simply not true. He seems more interested in what Ella can no longer do rather than what she can. This is a shame, as it takes the sheen off a lovely and most unexpected new Ella product - her 1984 performance at this festival is quite well known and done the rounds among collectors for years, but this one from 1979 is pretty much unknown.
Super! Enjoyed every minute of this performance. Disagree with the liner notes writer, Ella is still good despite her age. The DVD is a superb bonus and I would absolutely recommend this to younger people who never got to see Ella live during this period as I did. The seller was prompt and item arrived in new condition. Thanks.