Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong: Summertime




Ella Fitzgerald (vocals) and Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals)


Porgy & Bess (Verve 9790)

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Ella Fitzgerald (vocals), Louis Armstrong (trumpet, vocals),

with large studio orchestra conducted by Russell Garcia


Composed by George Gershwin & DuBose Heyward. Arranged by Russell Garcia


Recorded: Los Angeles, August 18, 1957


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded two relaxed, swinging albums for Verve before Norman Granz had the inspiration to use them in a deluxe 2-LP set featuring 16 songs from Porgy and Bess. While not the first Porgy and Bess concept album, Ella & Louis's version is one of the best. Both were in top vocal form at the time of the recording, and while Louis's trumpet chops were not as strong as they had been in years past, he could still perform stunning solos. On "Summertime," Russ Garcia's arrangement adds a few subtle touches to the original orchestration. Armstrong plays a majestic first chorus on trumpet, followed by Ella's smooth and creamy vocal. After a subtle key change, Louis takes a solo vocal chorus. When Ella returns, she spins a beautifully conceived variation on the melody while Louis supports her with some of the tenderest scatting he ever recorded.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

Related Links

The Legacy of Ella Fitzgerald by Ted Gioia
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Ella Fitzgerald Performances by Stuart Nicholson
”Ella Fitzgerald” by Stuart Nicholson (from The Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians)

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