Sunday, January 7, 2007

Things we like—Ella & Pops.

Just watched a really nice Ella documentary from the PBS American Masters series “Ella Fitgerald: Something to Live For”—it’s available on Netflix.

Had a little footage from this album’s sessions.

Got me thinking about Woody Allen’s “why is life worth living...” monologue in Manhattan—which includes Pops’ Potato Head Blues—something really nice about Ella and Pops being older and self-assured. And the cover photo is one of the best ever. Not particularly flattering, but particularly real, in a way that’s rarely glimpsed on album covers.

I’ve always thought they looked like a sweet older couple on this cover, checked, and Louis was only in his mid-fifties at the time of this recording and Ella couldn't have been over forty (!)

For the interested, some musts in addition to this record:

• Louis Armstrong—The Complete Hot Fives & Hot Sevens (the Rosetta stone) which Columbia re-issued in the ultimate boxed set in 2002.

Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington—The Complete Sessions (a.k.a. “The Summit”) re-issued around 2000, with an additional disc of studio outtakes and jabber.

• Ella Fitgerald—Any of the “Sings the...Songbook” (most notably Gershwin, Cole Porter, Ellington, Rodgers & Hart) on Verve.