With the first LP Ella And Louis, Norman Granz of Verve Records knew he had a winner, so a follow up disc was pretty much inevitable.
Ella And Louis Again was originally issued as a two-record set. This reissue LP from the 1957 session is presented as a single, expanded vinyl disc featuring all the duets from the first issue and abandoning the tracks where the principals performed alone with the rhythm section.
It works fairly well and gives punters a 51-minute LP although it is a bit light on trumpet solos compared to the original release. Not too much of a problem when you have jazz vocals of this quality and a streamlined rhythm section behind them.
The two are in excellent voice throughout, taking turns at the lyrics and often with Louis providing gravelly harmony behind Ella’s vocals or playing a trumpet backing. Gee Baby begins with a trumpet segment before the two begin singing. Ella’s pure jazz singing mixed with the gruff vocals of Armstrong provide an unexpectedly magical mix. Stompin’ At The Savoy seems to suit them both down to the ground and they go to town, swinging it into bad health, as the saying goes.
The standout piece of the entire set though is Learning The Blues where Louis kicks off on trumpet and then both vocalists have joyous solo sections backed by plump blues chords from Herb Ellis and the rhythm section purring smoothly behind them. Peterson’s trio augmented by the tasteful Louie Bellson on drums is an ideal section for both principals. Buddy Rich was on the first volume but Louie steps in seamlessly and you would hardly know the difference in terms of light but insistent swinging.
The LP is from a company called Jazz Wax and is, according to their front cover sticker, a “one pressing limited edition”. It offers 180-gram vinyl and the sound is bright and clear throughout. Ella and Louis are on top form all through and so is that smooth rhythm section.
Don’t Be That Way; They All Laughed; Autumn In New York; Stompin’ At The Savoy; I Won’t Dance; I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm; Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You; Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off; I’m Putting All My Eggs In One Basket; A Fine Romance; Love Is Here To Stay; Learnin’ The Blues (51.36)
Fitzgerald (v); Armstrong (v, t); Oscar Peterson (p); Herb Ellis (elg); Ray Brown (b); Louie Bellson (d). Hollywood, 23 July and 13 August 1957.
Jazz Wax 4598 (vinyl)