Ella Fitzgerald, Twelve Nights in Hollywood

“Twelve Nights in Hollywood” (Ella Fitzgerald)

Another glowing review of Ella Fitzgerald’s residency at the Crescendo Club in the early 1960s, this time by Will Friedwald:

June 1962. The Crescendo Club on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. Ella Fitzgerald and her quartet have settled in for a two-week run in her adopted hometown. In the middle of a set, she starts singing “Too Darn Hot,” which had been a highlight of her 1956 album, “The Cole Porter Songbook.” But a few notes into the song, Fitzgerald is interrupted by the sound of kids dancing the twist in another joint upstairs. She decides to go with the flow: Drummer Gus Johnson and pianist Lou Levy start pounding out a boogie-shuffle beat, and the singer improvises lyrics about how hard it is to sing Porter while everybody’s twistin’. She then launches into the “Kiss Me Kate” show tune with the kind of energy and swing that the young twisters couldn’t even dream about. It’s a brilliant, spontaneous moment, and a wonderful insight into the thinking of one of the iconic interpreters of the Great American Songbook.

This performance is one of the many joys of the recently released four-CD boxed set “Twelve Nights in Hollywood,” and it’s also a microcosm of what was occurring in American culture at the time. At start of the ’60s, Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra were the powerhouses of the record-album business. Rock ‘n’ roll was in the doldrums, and even at its earlier height it was mainly a singles market. No less than Sinatra with his concept albums, Fitzgerald and her producer-manager Norman Granz had transformed the long-playing medium with their songbook and live albums. In 1959 and 1960, Fitzgerald brought both these ideas to unprecedented heights with one project that was incredibly ambitious, her five-LP “George and Ira Gershwin Songbook,” and another that was masterful in its simplicity, “Ella in Berlin—Mack the Knife.”

[Click to continue reading Ella Fitzgerald, Twelve Nights in Hollywood | By Will Friedwald – WSJ.com]
[non-WSJ subscribers use this link to read the full review]

1 thought on “Ella Fitzgerald, Twelve Nights in Hollywood

  1. Facile says:

    Whining about solipsism is like trniyg to stop a car by stomping on the gas:a) It is unmanly and therefore unattractive. All it does is focus her solipsistic lens on your whining (His objective but whiny “solipsism is too hard” sounds like “oh, he’s PMSing about ME, again..”)b) It is a strategic misfire: if you want a woman to be happy with what you are doing, it is fairly easy to help her to see how your success or objective is about her because she’s already prone to assume it is! Instead, trniyg to iron out her solipsism is just a disruption to that opportunity. You are basically saying, “Yeah, this is what I’m going to do, it’ll be great, and I think you have nothing to do with it” every time you try to separate her self from the objective.c) It is useless: she’s going to see things through the lens of the self, no matter what, and her self is not static. Much better to:1) Do what needs to be done.2) Acknowledge her for her contribution to the success.3) Ignore her take on it, because it is only really relevant to her.4) As long as she is happy and you are doing what you want, what do you care what she’s thinking? It’s like the weather – its going to change anyway, and there’s not much you can do in the meantime.Well put, SD.

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