CD review: Ella Fitzgerald – The Complete Piano Duets 2020: Video, CD cover

The great jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald made many kinds of wonderful records during her brilliant career, including charming duets with Louis Armstrong, classy collaborations with Duke Ellington and spirited live albums that showcased her exuberant scat singing. But the purest Ella may have been her performances with a variety of gifted pianists.

Spanning 1950 to 1975, The Complete Piano Duets presents 43 examples of shining genius on two discs, pairing Fitzgerald with keyboard aces like Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan and Ellis Larkins. The repertoire of standards includes songs by the Gershwins (“Someone to Watch Over Me”), Cole Porter (“My Heart Belongs to Daddy”) and Billy Strayhorn (“Lush Life”), as well as such timeless tunes as “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” “September Song” and “Makin’ Whoopee!” Regardless of accompanist, Fitzgerald caresses the melodies with an easy grace that seems divinely inspired.

With all the real-world stress today, taking time to experience beauty isn’t just a nice idea – it’s conducive to sound mental health. Soothing and sweet, The Complete Piano Duets won’t solve any crises, but it will likely make them a little easier to face. ~ Jon M. Young

Disc One:
1. Looking For A Boy
2. My One And Only
3. How Long Has This Been Going On?
4. I’ve Got A Crush On You
5. But Not For Me
6. Soon
7. Someone To Watch Over Me
8. Maybe
9. I’m Glad There Is You
10. Baby, What Else Can I Do
11. What Is There To Say?
12. Makin’ Whoopee!
13. Until The Real Thing Comes Along
14. People Will Say We’re In Love
15. Please Be Kind
16. Imagination
17. My Heart Belongs To Daddy
18. You Leave Me Breathless
19. Nice Work If You Can Get It
20. Stardust
21. Miss Otis Regrets
22. Lush Life

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Disc Two:
1. My Melancholy Baby
2. Angel Eyes
3. Black Coffee
4. I Hadn’t Anyone Till You
5. I Cried For You
6. Misty
7. Who’s Sorry Now?
8. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby
9. I’m Getting Sentimental Over You
10. Then You’ve Never Been Blue
11. September Song
12. Reach For Tomorrow
13. One For My Baby
14. Somewhere In The Night
15. Mean To Me
16. How Long Has This Been Going On?
17. When Your Lover Has Gone
18. More Than You Know
19. There’s A Lull In My Life
20. How Long Has This Been Going On (Take 5 alternate)
21. More Than You Know (Take 1 alternate)

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