This fun recording was the lead track from Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson, the first of a back-to-back pair of albums Ella Fitzgerald and Nelson Riddle released in 1962. At the 5th Annual Grammy Awards, Ella won Best Vocal Performance for this album (her 7th win since the award's inception).
Interestingly enough, after yesterday's post from her miserable late '60s period at Capitol Records, this album was recorded November 14, 1961 at the Capitol Records Tower (Riddle's home base) but for her home label, Verve.
Riddle's arrangement isn't his most original; even the most casual listener could hear just a few seconds and realize Riddle basically copied his own legendary, "Bolero"-inspired arrangement for Frank Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin" written five years prior (right down to the trombone solo--like, Nelson, were you rushed? Were you asleep?). It still works because of how the lyrics of this song contrast with the jauntiness of the backing. Ella takes the blue, self-pitying verse and makes it sound like a party.
Look for a TWO bonus recordings of this song below: a rarely heard live recording of Ella singing it backed by Lou Levy Trio live at the Crescendo in Hollywood several months prior to the studio version, and a lovely 1975 studio recording with Ella accompanied solely by Oscar Peterson on piano.
Live in Hollywood with the Lou Levy Trio, May or June 1961. Note that Riddle's chart has been rearranged for piano, bass, and drums. This concert included a number of tunes that were in rehearsal phase for the Riddle albums that would be recorded later that year. Also, Ella states that she records for "Verve Records, by way of MGM"; MGM purchased Verve from impresario Norman Granz (who continued to run the label for some years) just prior to this album, in early '61.
From 1975's Ella and Oscar, a highlight of her career's third act. The portion that finds Ella and Oscar trading eight-bar improvisations is delicious.
Ella 101 is a daily look at 101 essential recordings by Ella Fitzgerald, who was born 101 years ago this month. Tune in to Equinox, Monday nights from 8 - 11 p.m. on WYSO, to hear Ella and more great jazz with host Duante Beddingfield.