Harriet’s comment on my last post prompted me to go back to my Ella collection. She really is the consummate jazz singer, and I agree with Harriet that her Rodgers and Hart interpretations are sublime, though my all time favourite Ella album is The Cole Porter Songbook. There was an interesting programme on Ella in the BBC Jazz library series- to which you can subscribe for podcasts, or just listen again- which I would recommend to anyone who doesn’t know much about her. (Though it does raise the question where have you been?) Not many of the current crop come close, though I would recommend Stacey Kent, who has intriguingly employed Kazuo Ishiguro as a lyricist on her recent album.

His songs are quirky, and suit Stacey’s delivery well. I’ve played this a lot.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Ella by Dr Rob Spence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

10 Responses to “Ella”

  1. Hi, only yesterday I heard one of Ella’s songs on the radio. It was about being independent from other people’s opinions. It was a little like blues – it also spoke about the price of freedom. The general message seemed to be: if I do this or that it’s just my business even if it leads to a disaster; I have a right to learn all by myself. I did enjoy it because the text was really meaningful.

  2. And how many readers does your blog have?

    Do you know any other cool blogs with entries on literature and jazz or classical music?

  3. As sublime as Ella’s working of the American songbook is (and I’m with you, her Cole Porter interpretations are incomparable), she ain’t Billie or Bessie. This listener likes his jazz with that heart of darkness; when it comes to “‘Taint Nobody’s Bizness” it’d be tight but I’d take the Empress over Lady Day.

    Great blog.

  4. Thanks for the comment Stephen. Of course Lady Day has a special place in my personal pantheon too. I do love the sense of effortless ease that Ella exudes though.

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