The Sunday Dozen: Ella’s Songbooks

Ella Fitzgerald started recording the songbook series in 1955 when she was 39 years old. I used the picture of the young Ella with Chick Webb because it rocks or does it swing? It don’t mean a thing.

Ella cut 8 songbook albums from 1955-1964. These records cemented her status as one of the finest interpreters of the great American songbook. Along the way she worked with some brilliant arrangers: Buddy Bregman twice, Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn, Paul Weston, Billy May, and Nelson Riddle thrice.

Once again, the list is in chronological order and reflects my taste.

Let’s get on with this collision between the Friday Cocktail Hour and the Sunday Dozen.

Why Can’t You Behave? is a song I’ve been known to sing to recalcitrant cats. Do they listen? Hell, no. They don’t want to behave.

It’s DeLovely is Cole Porter’s wordplay at its best. It’s delightful, it’s delirious…

You Took Advantage of Me is one of Dick Rodgers’ finest melodies and contains some of Larry Hart’s best lyrics. I won’t take advantage of your patience to write more.

Ten Cents A Dance is a Depression era anthem that Ella took ownership of in 1956.

The title of this tune is self-explanatory: It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing.) Doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah.

It feels like April around here.¬† Wait a minute, Irving Berlin month is over. It’s time to Change Partners.

The Gershwin brothers were a helluva team, especially when writing for an Astaire-Rogers movie. Once again the title says it all: Nice Work If You Can Get It.

Now that we’ve held hands at midnight, the theme song of one of Fred and Ginger’s best movies:

Ella really belts out this bluesy version of When The Sun Comes Out. It comes from the Harold Arlen Songbook with lyrics by Ted Koehler and a stunning arrangement by Billy May.

Let’s Begin is the opening track of Ella’s most underrated songbook album featuring¬† music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Otto Harbach. It takes us bach to the beginning…

All The Things You Are was beloved and recorded by jazz greats such as Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. The lyrics are by Oscar Hammerstein after whom my late cat was NOT named.

Finally, a song written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer: This Time The Dream’s On Me.

It’s lagniappe time. Ella, Louis, and Oscar with the Gershwin’s They All Laughed.

Have I told you lately how much I love Oscar Peterson?

One thought on “The Sunday Dozen: Ella’s Songbooks

  1. Classic. I inherited some of the original Verve LPs from a cousin and then bought the CD box as soon as it came out. It’s one of the centerpieces of my CD collection.

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