Ella Fitzgerald: Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me


Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me


Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)


The Best of the Songbooks: The Ballads (Verve 314 521 867)

Buy Track


Ella Fitzgerald (vocals), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Stuff Smith (violin), Paul Smith (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar), Joe Mondragon (bass), Alvin Stoller (drums).

Composed by Duke Ellington & Bob Russell


Recorded: Los Angeles, September 4, 1956


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

Jazz players often perform this song in a glib, jaunty manner. But this Ellington standard needs to be handled with care. The equivocal lyrics, which seem to suggest the admission of an infidelity ("some kiss may cloud my infidelity"), present a psychological labyrinth. They allow the singer to adopt a pose or dig in deep. Ella takes the harder path and chooses to probe the pathos behind the words -- a decision all the more commendable given the fact that this artist often slides along the surface of her songs. Here Ella shows how acute she could be as an interpreter of brokenhearted ballads. Of course, no vocalist of her generation had greater technical command than Ella, and when she marries her prepossessing skill to a deep penetration into the inner meaning of the material, the results are magical. All that said, Ben Webster plays a perfect solo that is every bit as brilliant as the vocal. This ranks among the finest of songbook performances.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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)

Tags: · · · ·

Comments are closed.