Follow Us on Twitter

Ella Fitzgerald - Forever Ella

Forever Ella, Ella Fitzgerald

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

ELLA Fitzgerald, the first lady of jazz, would have celebrated her 90th birthday on April 25, so to mark the occasion UCJ Music are releasing three new Ella CDs. Firstly, a never before heard collection of love songs for the countless Ella enthusiasts, Love Letters From Ella, including some beautiful arrangements with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Secondly, a tribute album called We All Love Ella: Celebrating The First Lady of Song featuring a phenomenal roster of celebrated artists such as Diana Krall, kd Lang, Natalie Cole and Chaka Kahn singing some of Ella’s best-known tunes.

And thirdly, Forever Ella, a 20-track collection of her best loved songs, such as the timeless classics Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye and Manhattan, as well as her duets with favourite musical partner, Louis Armstrong, in the form of Summertime and They Can’t Take That Away From Me.

Ella’s version of Cry Me A River has also been given a new backing from the London Symphony Orchestra that was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road, while two bonus tracks present her in contemporary fashion thanks to remixes from De Phazz and Layo and Bushwacka.

The purists, though, will get the most joy from the originals, when Ella’s beautiful and distinct vocals bring back memories from the years she reigned supreme as one of the finest voices ever to lighten up the music industry.

Songs such as Manhattan retain an enduring quality thanks to their evergreen use in movies that help to ensure Ella’s music spans generations. Several tracks on this collection have been used on the big screen, prompting memories of that special first date, or a really fine celluloid moment.

Manhattan, in particular, is a beautiful love-letter to New York that’s virtually synonymous with the magic of visiting that city, while there’s a joyful exuberance to the way in which Ella delivers the swinging likes of Get Happy and Let’s Face The Music And Dance.

Night And Day is another beloved by many, while two versions of Let’s Fall In Love provide a perfect romantic backdrop for lovers of any age.

Of the remixes, the De Phazz take on Wait Til You See Him drops an extremely polished beat that works effortlessly in tandem with Ella’s butter-smooth style, dripping the song in a contemporary atmosphere that blows the socks off a lot of cheesy chart pretenders in terms of emphasis and style (the excellent introduction of horns will blow you away).

But Layo and Bushwacka’s remix of Angel Eyes isn’t quite so successful given who they’re remixing. Rather than retaining the strong qualities of Ella’s vocals, this is instrumentally driven and more like a Portishead B-side rather than the work of a jazz legend. It’s perfectly listenable but it doesn’t really end the album on the memorable note it should.

In all other respects, this is a stone wall classic that ought to be bought and enjoyed by music fans of every age. And there aren’t too many artists who you can say that about.

Download picks: Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, Manhattan, Wail Til You See Him, Summertime, Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love), Let’s Face The Music & Dance, Night And Day, You Do Something To Me

Track listing:

  1. Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye
  2. Cry Me A River [Album Version]
  3. Manhattan
  4. The Best Is Yet To Come
  5. I Get A Kick Out Of You
  6. Cheek To Cheek [1958 Stereo Version]
  7. Don’t Fence Me In
  8. Get Happy
  9. Night And Day
  10. Let’s Face The Music And Dance [1958 Stereo Version]
  11. Summertime [Album Version]
  12. Someone To Watch Over Me [1959 Stereo Version]
  13. Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love) [Alternate Take]
  14. They Can’t Take That Away From Me [Album Version]
  15. Let’s Fall In Love
  16. You Do Something To Me
  17. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
  18. A Fine Romance [1963 Version]
  19. Wait Till You See Him [De-Phazz Remix]
  20. Angel Eyes [Layo & Bushwacka Remix]

  1. The article was spot on, I would say though that Angel Eyes is one that should not be on the album.
    Amateur Night Out! It’s appalling.

    Dave Lawson    Apr 27    #