Ella Fitzgerald - Live in Berlin (1960)
Posted By : blandyob | Date : 11 Nov 2006 01:14:00 | Comments : 6 |
Ella Fitzgerald - Live in Berlin (1960)
Original LP Programme - 9 Tracks.
Genre: Live Vocal Jazz / MP3 192 kbps / 50 MB / 32:48
Ella Fitzgerald was at the peak of her form during her 1960 tour of Europe. Her Berlin concert is most remembered for her hilariously inventive version of "Mack the Knife," during which she forgot the words and substituted ones of her own that somehow fit, amazing herself in the process. With fine support from her quartet (pianist Paul Smith, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Wilfred Middlebrooks, and drummer Gus Johnson), Fitzgerald is brilliant throughout the well-rounded set, with highlights including "Misty" (a version very different from Sarah Vaughan's), "The Lady Is a Tramp," "Too Darn Hot," and a scat-filled "How High the Moon." This is essential music.
By Scott Yanow
NB. The album cover is slightly misleading; this is not The Complete Ella in Berlin, but the Original LP Programme, which consisted of 9 tracks when released in 1960.
These files have obviously been recorded from vinyl, and some crackle is audible. I hope you will agree that the quality of the performance more than makes up for any deficiencies in the recording, and that you will be willing to step out of the digitally-remastered world in order to enjoy this album.
1.Gone With the Wind
3.The Lady is a Tramp
4.The Man I Love
6.Too Darn Hot
8.Mack the Knife
9.How High the Moon?
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Paul Smith (piano); Jim Hall (guitar); Wilfred Middlebrooks (bass); Gus Johnson (drums). Recorded live at Deutschlandhallen, West Berlin, West Germany on February 13, 1960.
|“||Amazon.com essential recording|
A 43-year-old Ella rolls through her typical routine in feisty fashion on this 1960 recording, which documents the opening show of her European tour. There's the Satchmo impersonation (a joyous "Mack the Knife"), the lengthy scat showcase ("How High the Moon," on which she quotes Charlie Parker's "Ornithology"), and a bevy of Gershwin and Porter tunes. Supported by pianist Paul Smith's quartet (with the elegant Jim Hall on guitar), Ella's voice sounds earthier than usual and her phrasing is as appealing as ever. She's sublimely tender on "Misty" and wonderfully sultry on "Too Darn Hot.". Upon its initial release, the album picked up two Grammies and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Pop chart; its acclaim was well deserved. --Marc Greilsamer
|“||Ella's best known live album is Ella in Berlin (1960). Paul Smith, who accompanies Ella on that album, regards it as one of her finest: "In some ways," Smith told me, "it's a shame people remember that album only for 'Mack the Knife.' It's got some other fine things on it. 'Too Darn Hot' and 'Gone With the Wind' are nice swingers, and the Gershwin ballads, 'The Man I Love' and 'Summertime' are perfectly done."|
Smith maintains that in her prime, Ella was as close to perfection as any singer has ever been. "She had a great sense of timing and great pitch. All of her impulses were very musical. Thus, she was easy to accompany. In those days, she was right on the money night after night."
Clearly, however, Ella's biggest hit from the album, and one of the biggest hits she ever had, was 'Mack the Knife,' which became legendary. She forgot the words, so the story goes, made up her own, and fashioned from them a hit. Wilfred Middlebrooks, who was her bassist at the time, corroborates the story.
"When we went out on tour, we had a show, and she usually didn't change it. We might vary the encores, but that was about all. Usually. Once in a while, when Ella was bored with the routine or feeling especially loose, she'd mix things up. She didn't do it often, but every three or four weeks, on a whim, she'd call for something out of the blue.
"That night in Berlin, we were in front of twelve thousand people and at the end of a midnight concert. We had played Brussels earlier, flown to Berlin and been up for twenty-two hours. We were all so tired we couldn't hold our heads up, when Ella turns around and says, 'Let's do "Mack the Knife."
"My heart sank. I was too tired. We were in front of too many people to try something crazy, and I knew Ella didn't know the tune. I said, 'Well, golly Ella. . .' but before I could say anymore she had turned around and was announcing it. I looked at Paul and he just grinned. Of course he could play anything, but I was still a young dude and needed to run things down once. Paul said, 'I'll start us with the "Here Comes Charlie" vamp in G.' I could handle that, so we commenced. And just about the time I started feeling good (after a couple of choruses), Ella gave Paul a hand signal and switched to A-flat. She had great pitch, and I could hear just where she was going, but staying with her was something else. Paul just looked up at me and grinned.
"I thought, 'Well, I know she doesn't know this tune, so surely she'll stay put,' but I'll be damned if she didn't change keys again at the end of the next chorus, and the next and the next. We ended that thing in D-flat. It was all Paul could do to keep from laughing at me, for I was hanging on by the fingernails, as they say. I remember thinking at the end of the fourth or fifth chorus, 'Well, she's about as lost as she can get, Louis Armstrong will show up any minute,' because when Ella got lost in a swing number, she usually fell back on her Louis imitation, which was a sure fire a crowd pleaser. And sure enough, about that time, here came Louis.
"I was so tired and bothered that night, that I didn't really hear the tune. It was only later, after the record came out, that I realized what a great performance it was. And it was absolutely spontaneous. Fortunately, when we did the tune the following year on the Ella Returns to Berlin album, we had rehearsed it and used only one key change--though Ella still didn't get the lyrics quite right."
Ella in Berlin, which was released in the summer of 1960, went, as so many others had, to the top of the jazz charts and won two more Grammys for Ella.
|“||Ella Fitzgerald "Mack The Knife: Ella In Berlin" (Verve, 1960)|
A classic. Backed by Paul Smith's combo, Ella ploughs through an upbeat, high-power scat singin' lovefest, live in Berlin at the height of the Cold War. She pays tribute to the locals with a playful, dazzling rendition of "Mack The Knife," in which she charmingly forgets the lyrics and just free-associates her way around the gaffe; likewise, her live version of "How High The Moon" is a real show-stopper. Apparently this album was a big pop hit in the Billboard charts when it first came out, although it's very much a swingin' jazz album. Fun stuff -- recommended!
Ella's performance of Mack the Knife on the Berlin recording of 1960 was a result of a house management request. She knew the tune, yet never performed it before. It was primarily associated (the popular versions) with either Louis Armstrong or Bobby Darin at the time.
Ella chose to sing the request, but actually didn't know all the lyrics but she didn't expect the Germans to notice, and few in the house did notice when she simply forgot the next chorus, improvising and scatting the remainder of the tune.
As a result, that recording became immensely popular and for a time was her largest selling record. Before CD's became the norm, the vinyl copy of that Berlin recording could fetch upwards to $135.
Ella on 1980 Special with Trio, 04:49
Bobby Durham drums, Keeter Betts bass, Paul Smith piano...Introduced by Richard and Karen Carpenter on the 1980 Special. How High The Moon is the song...great scat and it's a great comparison to the 1960 recording of Ella in Berlin, since Paul Smith was on the piano for that concert.
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