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Ella in Rome: The Birthday Concert: Release Notes:
This was recorded on Ella's 40th Birthday, 1958.Personnel includes: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Lou Levy (piano); Max Bennett (bass); Gus Johnson (drums).Oscar Peterson Trio: Oscar Peterson (piano); Herb Ellis (guitar); Ray Brown (bass).Recorded on April 25, 1958, Ella Fitzgerald's 40th birthday, ELLA IN ROME finds one of the best jazz singers in history at the peak of her powers and not yet even halfway through her long and illustrious career. Norman Granz, head of Verve and Fitzgerald's producer, gives a flowery introduction that Fitzgerald goes on to justify. The opening "St Louis Blues," with an extended, intricate scat solo, is simply transcendent, and the ballads, like a slinky version of Duke Ellington's "Just Squeeze Me (But Please Don't Tease Me)," are stunning. The hour-long program also features a small-combo set with the always-amazing Oscar Peterson Quartet and a salute to Louis Armstrong, with whom Fitzgerald had recently recorded three albums. The entire performance is simply remarkable, and a must for Fitzgerald fans.
Norman Granz; Phil Schaap