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Ella Fitzgerald – Ella – The Lost Berlin Tapes (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Ella Fitzgerald – Ella – The Lost Berlin Tapes (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:04:04 minutes | 1,38 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Verve

In 1962, Ella Fitzgerald was at the height of her powers, about midway through recording her now-iconic series of “songbook” albums and, two years earlier, having released a barnstormer of a live album, Ella in Berlin, that solidified her position as one of the most talented and popular musicians working in the jazz idiom. Her only competition at the time was, essentially, Frank Sinatra and herself. During the course of 1962, she would release three albums: two complementary collaborations with Nelson Riddle that further pushed her into crossover territory without tarnishing her credibility or minimizing her skills, and the oft-overlooked Rhythm is My Business, a hard-swinging set that comes off breezy and soulful, but is a remarkable document of the strength of Fitzgerald and her band during this era. And it’s that strength that’s captured on The Lost Berlin Tapes, recorded in concert at Berlin’s Sportpalast that year. Verve Records founder Norman Granz frequently recorded live sets of many of his acts (Fitzgerald especially), and that’s what accounts for both the existence and the remarkable fidelity of these “lost” tapes. (Though they were never truly lost; Granz had just stashed them away). From a performance perspective, it’s unbelievable that this concert recording sat unheard for more than a half-century. Brimming with energy and benefiting from the confidence that can only come from being at the top of one’s game, Ella and her band careen through 17 songs with a full-throated fervor that’s greeted with an equally enthusiastic response from the crowd. The set both swings incredibly hard and evinces a cool, sophisticated polish, a combination that, again, pretty much only she and Sinatra were delivering at this scale during the era. It’s the sort of casual excellence that’s made to look deceptively easy. (And yes, she aces the version of “Mack the Knife” here.) Releases like this—especially in the aftermath of the devastating Universal fire that destroyed so many iconic album masters and so much unreleased material—prove that, even when we think a barrel has been fully scraped or a vault fully excavated, there will always be warm, welcome surprises to be found in the archives of these legendary artists. – Jason Ferguson


1. Ella Fitzgerald – Cheek To Cheek (Live)
2. Ella Fitzgerald – My Kind Of Boy (Live)
3. Ella Fitzgerald – Cry Me A River (Live)
4. Ella Fitzgerald – I Won’t Dance (Live)
5. Ella Fitzgerald – Someone To Watch Over Me (Live)
6. Ella Fitzgerald – Jersey Bounce (Live)
7. Ella Fitzgerald – Angel Eyes (Live)
8. Ella Fitzgerald – Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! (Live)
9. Ella Fitzgerald – Taking A Chance On Love (Live)
10. Ella Fitzgerald – C’est Magnifique (Live)
11. Ella Fitzgerald – Good Morning Heartache (Live)
12. Ella Fitzgerald – Hallelujah, I Love Him So (Live)
13. Ella Fitzgerald – Hallelujah, I Love Him So (Reprise / Live)
14. Ella Fitzgerald – Summertime (Live)
15. Ella Fitzgerald – Mr. Paganini (Live)
16. Ella Fitzgerald – Mack The Knife (Live)
17. Ella Fitzgerald – Wee Baby Blues (Live)


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