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Sophisticated Lady
     

Sophisticated Lady

by Ella Fitzgerald
 
Fitzgerald was the artist who most put the live album on the map -- unusually the international map -- and therefore it's not surprising that five years after her death, most of the new Fitzgerald releases should be previously unheard live concerts. Sophisticated Lady, which combines tracks from two tours, is a worthy successor to such revelatory releases from the

Overview

Fitzgerald was the artist who most put the live album on the map -- unusually the international map -- and therefore it's not surprising that five years after her death, most of the new Fitzgerald releases should be previously unheard live concerts. Sophisticated Lady, which combines tracks from two tours, is a worthy successor to such revelatory releases from the last few years as Ella in Budapest (taped in 1970) and In the Groove (culled from a series of live broadcasts aired in 1939). While this compendium continues Fitzgerald's connection to the tradition of live recording, it also extends two other crucial relationships in her musical life. The first is with Joe Pass, the virtuoso guitarist who was her most frequent musical companion in the 1970s. The second is with Duke Ellington: She undoubtedly recorded more of the Maestro's masterworks than any other major vocalist, and this set, which takes its title from an Ellington classic, contains no less than six delightful Ducal doings. The very naked quality of the voice-and- guitar duet reveals some slight degradation of the greatest voice in American music, but Fitzgerald sings with such warmth, creating such an immediate bond between herself and the audience (both those in the stadium and those listening decades later), that I wouldn't change a microtone.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ken Dryden
Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass made a number of studio recordings as a duo between 1973 and 1986 for Pablo, but this is their first concert CD to appear on the label. Composed of excerpts from a 1975 date in Hamburg and a 1983 appearance in Tokyo, it provides an interesting contrast as Fitzgerald's abilities declined during the eight-year gap due to health problems. The later material is featured first, and Pass' thoughtful support props her up during the occasional rough spots. Following a series of Ellington tunes, it becomes obvious that her ability as a scat singer clearly had not diminished, as proven during an increasingly complex version of "One Note Samba." They close with a delightfully swinging take of "Bluesette." Pass begins the Hamburg set with a trio of unaccompanied solos, including a lush "Old Folks," an intricate exploration of the bossa nova "Wave," and finally, a sensational run through "Cherokee" that can only be adequately described as breathtaking. Fitzgerald returns to join the guitarist for a trio of Ellington songs, starting off with the lesser known ballad "Take Love Easy" (which was also the title track of their then-current first duo LP), along with a surprisingly brief "Mood Indigo" and an inspired, often humorous "Satin Doll." This rewarding CD makes one wonder if there are more unreleased recording by Fitzgerald and Pass hidden in Fantasy's vaults awaiting discovery. [Sophisticated Lady was also released with a bonus track.]

Product Details

Release Date:
07/10/2001
Label:
Pablo
UPC:
0025218531023
catalogNumber:
5310
Rank:
64991

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