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Very Best of the Song Books

The Very Best of the Song Books

by Ella Fitzgerald
Considered near the pinnacle of vocal jazz (along with Frank Sinatra's string of Capitol LPs), Ella Fitzgerald's eight Verve songbooks codified the canon of American Popular Song (uppercased) and continued to prove the best venue for learning what that phrase meant even 50 years after its genesis. (It's no wonder that the series even


Considered near the pinnacle of vocal jazz (along with Frank Sinatra's string of Capitol LPs), Ella Fitzgerald's eight Verve songbooks codified the canon of American Popular Song (uppercased) and continued to prove the best venue for learning what that phrase meant even 50 years after its genesis. (It's no wonder that the series even caused no less a figure than Ira Gershwin to amend the Constitution, so to speak, and suggest for Fitzgerald alone a few changes in the lyrics of his classics.) Despite their high pedigree, however, the songbooks are difficult to approach. Few of them shine much brighter than the others, and for a long period of the digital era they were available only in a gigantic box set or in radically altered reissues (the latter minus the remastering). That was rectified -- very gradually -- beginning in the late '90s, but The Very Best of the Song Books earns high marks because of how well it teases out the best material from the original 13 LPs. The Ella Fitzgerald version of these songs did not usually follow along with the standard versions of these fine old warhorses; her "Love for Sale" is surprisingly tender, and countless times she seems to follow a different trajectory with the notes she sings ("Where or When" is a perfect example). Meanwhile, the arrangers Buddy Bregman, Paul Weston, Nelson Riddle, and Billy May were unparalleled in their ability to spin new arrangements out of the occasional tired sheet. There's only one odd characteristic to The Very Best of the Song Books -- its length. It lasts only an hour-and-a-half, although it appears on two discs, which would allow room for more than an hour of additional music.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ella Fitzgerald   Primary Artist,Vocals
Cat Anderson   Trumpet
Buddy Collette   Flute,Woodwind
Bob Cooper   English Horn,Oboe,Tenor Saxophone
Buddy DeFranco   Clarinet
Harry Edison   Trumpet
Herb Ellis   Guitar
Maynard Ferguson   Trumpet
Herb Geller   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Dizzy Gillespie   Trumpet
Paul Gonsalves   Tenor Saxophone
Johnny Hodges   Alto Saxophone
Plas Johnson   Tenor Saxophone
Barney Kessel   Guitar
Billy May   Conductor,Accompaniment
Ray Nance   Trumpet
Ted Nash   Flute,Tenor Saxophone,Woodwind
Bud Shank   Flute,Alto Saxophone
Ben Webster   Tenor Saxophone
Pete Candoli   Trumpet
Willie Cook   Trumpet
Ronnie Lang   Alto Saxophone
Lou Levy   Piano
Ray Linn   Trumpet
Matty Matlock   Woodwind
Abe Most   Clarinet
Babe Russin   Tenor Saxophone,Woodwind
Jimmy Woode   Bass
Buddy Bregman   Conductor
Justin Gordon   Woodwind
Corky Hale   Harp
Felix Slatkin   Concert Master
Russell Procope   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Quentin Jackson   Trombone
Britt Woodman   Trombone
Victor Arno   Violin
John Audino   Trumpet
Israel Baker   Violin
Harold Baker   Trumpet
Frank Beach   Trumpet
Norman Benno   Oboe
Benny Carter   Alto Saxophone
Milt Bernhart   Trombone
Red Callender   Tuba
Harry Carney   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone
John Cave   French Horn
Gene Cipriano   Woodwind
Clark Terry   Trumpet
Joe Comfort   Bass
Conrad Gozzo   Trumpet
Irving Cottler   Drums
James A. Decker   French Horn
Alvin Dinkin   Viola
Don Fagerquist   Trumpet
Duke Ellington   Piano
Walter Edelstein   Violin
Gilbert Falco   Trombone
Frank Foster   Tenor Saxophone
Jacques Gasselin   Violin
Chuck Gentry   Bassoon,Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone,Woodwind
James Getzoff   Violin
Benny Gill   Violin
Jimmy Hamilton   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Milt Holland   Glockenspiel
Kathyrine Julye   Harp
Armand Karpoff   Cello
Louis Kievman   Viola
Harry Klee   Flute,Woodwind
Manny Klein   Trumpet
Joe Koch   Woodwind
Ray Kramer   Cello
Eddie Kusby   Trombone
Cappy Lewis   Trumpet
Dan Lube   Violin
Edgar Lustgarten   Cello
Virginia Majewski   Viola
Joe Mondragon   Bass
Vito Mangano   Trumpet
Wilfred Middlebrooks   Bass
Dick Nash   Trombone
George Neikrug   Cello
Nelson Riddle   Conductor
Erno Neufeld   Violin
Dick Noel   Trombone
Richard Perissi   French Horn
George Price   French Horn
Jimmy Priddy   Trombone
Lou Raderman   Violin
Emil Radocchia   Percussion
Bill Richmond   Drums
George Roberts   Bass Trombone
Paul Robyn   Viola
Nathan Ross   Violin
Mischa Russell   Concert Master
John Sanders   Valve Trombone
Wilbur Schwartz   Woodwind
George Seaberg   Trumpet
Tommy Shepard   Trombone
Shorty Sherock   Trumpet
Paul Shure   Violin
Stuff Smith   Violin
Marshall Sosson   Violin
David Sterkin   Viola
Alvin Stoller   Drums
Fred Stulce   Woodwind
Juan Tizol   Valve Trombone
Joe Triscari   Trumpet
Lloyd Ulyate   Trombone
Gerald Vinci   Violin
Champ Webb   Woodwind
Paul Weston & His Orchestra   Conductor,Accompaniment
Sam Woodyard   Drums
Vincent DeRosa   French Horn
Alex Beller   Violin
William Hinshaw   French Horn
Eleanor Slatkin   Cello
Victor Bay   Violin
Stanley Harris   Viola
Murray Kellner   Violin
Kurt Reher   Cello
Eudice Shapiro   Violin
Barbara Simons   Viola
Lloyd W. Hildebrand   Bassoon
Arnold Koblentz   Oboe
Joseph Livoti   Violin
Karl de Karske   Bass Trombone
Dale McMickle   Trumpet
Joe Stepansky   Violin
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra   Accompaniment
Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra   Accompaniment
Frank Emilio Flynn   Percussion,Drums
Carroll Lewis   Trumpet
Howard Terry   Bassoon
Sidney Sharp   Violin
Tommy Pederson   Trombone
Joe Howard   Trombone
Maurice Stein   Alto Saxophone
James Arkatov   Cello
Veryle Brilhart   Harp
Elizabeth Greenschpoon   Cello
Jule Kinzler   Flute
Seymour Schoneberg   Oboe
Alex Neimann   Viola
William Schaefer   Trombone
William Smith   Woodwind
Buddy Bregman & Orchestra   Accompaniment
Robert Bain   Guitar
Paul "Scooby" Smith   Piano
John McClanian Best   Trumpet
Henry Hill   Violin
George Clinton Smith   Clarinet
Robert LaMarchina   Cello

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Hoagy Carmichael   Composer
Billy May   Arranger
Irving Mills   Composer
Buddy Bregman   Arranger
Harold Arlen   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Norman Granz   Producer,Audio Production
Duke Ellington   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Nelson Riddle   Arranger
Cole Porter   Composer
Billy Strayhorn   Arranger,Composer
Paul Francis Webster   Composer
Paul Weston & His Orchestra   Arranger
James Gavin   Liner Notes
Hollis King   Art Direction
Richard A. Whiting   Composer
Jim Salvati   Illustrations
Paul "Scooby" Smith   Arranger

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