Ella Fitzgerald (with Duke Ellington): Take the 'A' Train
Take the 'A' Train
Ella Fitzgerald (with the Duke Ellington Orchestra)
Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook (Verve 837 035)
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals), Duke Ellington (piano), Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Cat Anderson (trumpet), Harold 'Shorty' Baker (trumpet), Willie Cook (trumpet), Clark Terry (trumpet), Ray Nance (trumpet), Quentin Jackson (trombone), John Sanders (trombone), Britt Woodman (trombone), Jimmy Hamilton (reeds), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Russell Procope (alto sax), Frank Foster (tenor sax), Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Jimmy Woode (bass), Sam Woodyard (drums).
Composed by Billy Strayhorn.
Recorded: New York, June 24, 1957
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Matching Ella Fitzgerald with the Duke Ellington Orchestra on its signature tune is a surefire winner. But when you add Dizzy Gillespie to the band, this goes from "A Train" to "A+ Train" with extra AP credits to boot. Everybody is in fine form, and Dizzy shines. But Ella returns after the trumpet interlude and declares that she is taking over this "A Train" and all its passengers. She seems undecided whether she should scat or sing the lyrics, so she settles the matter by doing lots of both, but even when the song seems over and the train is pulling into the station, she stretches out the coda for a full extra minute, and her closing exchanges with the horns are an absolute delight. If I were a passenger, I'd stay on for at least five more stops.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia