Jazz CD Reviews
Ella Fitzgerald – Love Letters from Ella – Concord Records
Published on December 10, 2007
Ella Fitzgerald is one of the icons of jazz. Of a handful of the best female jazz singers, she certainly is one of the best, if not the best in the history of the medium. Her incredible control, her flexible range, her impeccable sense of timing and rhythm, her engaging stage presence—they all work together to make her a true master. And all of these traits are on display in this compilation disc from Concord Jazz.
And if I have a problem with this recording, there lies the problem, small though it is—it’s a compilation disc. With a compilation disc, you lose consistency and context of performance. Every track features different back-up musicians, different approaches to arrangements and orchestrations, and different performance levels and qualities from the musicians. When you are picking and choosing recordings from different years, and sometimes decades, there are bound to be differences in the performances. For some people, this isn’t a problem at all. For me, it leads to the next issue: context. Songs are chosen, arranged, performed, and sequenced with other songs in mind. And that’s what you find on an album or CD. All these choices are intentional and when you take a song out of a specific sequence, you remove the context for that song. You remove another level of meaning. That’s why I never cared for any of the “Best Of” recordings. You might as well listen to a radio station.
Of course, in the matter of this CD, ignoring issues of consistency and context, what you have is a very fine, listenable CD from one of the greatest jazz vocalists. The sound quality is perfectly fine and the selection of songs is quite nice. Perfect as an introduction to Ella or as a romantic gift to a loved one. If you are already a fan of Ella’s and have a number of her recordings, you can probably pass on this one. Chances are, you already have most of these songs.
1. Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone
2. Cry Me a River
3. You Turned the Tables on Me
4. I’ve Got the World on a String
6. My Old Flame
7. The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else)
8. Take Love Easy
9. Our Love is Here to Stay
10. Some Other Spring
– Hermon Joyner