8.04.2004

Mack The Knife: The Complete Ella in Berlin

I have a friend.

He brings me parts of his jazz collection to make up for the gap in mine. I've been loading cd after cd of really fantastic old jazz standards to my iPod for weeks and still I keep coming back to this one.

Ella Fitzgerald, recorded live in concert accompanied by The Paul Smith Quartet, at West Berlin Deutschlandhallen (and if you think you'll see Deutschlandhallen in this review again you're going to be sorely disappointed) is a magnificent work.

Live recordings are the part of a body of work that really lets the performer show off. All through these tracks Ella's laughing and skating, talking with Norman Graz as they set up the stage, thanking the audience - it's so full of personality and excitement and truly captures what it must have been like to actually be there.

The performance itself isn't full of overdone vocals or overpowering band noise (due in part to her producers and in part to Ella's own arranging) - even when she screws up Mack The Knife it's entertaining. She never misses a beat, professional in every way.

I urge you to find this disc and discover it for yourself.

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