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The Complete Ella And Louis On Verve

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Critics' Reviews

amg review
Almost all of these summit meetings have been in print virtually since CDs first appeared in listeners' lives, but never in one package. Here, you get all of Ella and Louis, the double-album sets Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess, and two live tracks recorded at the Hollywood Bowl in 1956 -- all in an unusual three-CD album that partially unfolds into an accordion-file (what will Verve's inventive packaging wizards think of next?). There are two booklets, one of which contains a rare recent interview with producer Norman Granz, and the other the notes from the original albums. Of the two wonderfully relaxed Ella and Louis albums, with their Oscar Peterson-driven rhythm quartets, the sequel seems a more diverse, more involving collection, although Satch doesn't play as much trumpet on Again as he does on the first album. Also, the two go it alone on several tracks, but one is not at all inconvenienced by the inclusion of solo gems like Armstrong's sly catalog of intercouplings on "Let's Do It." The Porgy session is an entirely different creature -- a big, formal presentation with Russ Garcia's lush yet atmospheric and even powerful orchestrations, reverberant sound (normally a Granz no-no), grandly moving vocal performances by the two, and a handful of tremendous trumpet solos from Pops. Alas, no unissued tracks turn up here, and of course, MCA still controls all of the earlier Decca duets (hence the disclaimer "Complete on Verve") -- so veteran Ella/Louis collectors may opt to hang on to earlier issues. But for those who don't have everything, this is irresistible. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi