Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong: Porgy & Bess

The third collaboration between the duo had both in good voice, even if Granz were right that he never got good trumpet from Armstrong


This was the third collaboration between Fitzgerald and Armstrong following the Ella And Louis and Ella And Louis Again successes and an album that has been a popular item in the jazz canon since its release. Norman Granz probably had few qualms in asking the two stars to lend their talents to Gershwin’s extended work.

It proved to a huge artistic success, with only the Miles Davis and Gil Evans combination (amongst other jazz attempts at the opera) matching the results of Ella and Louis. Their compatibility was unrivalled and their lyric awareness unquestioned.

Granz always complained that whenever he got Louis into the studio, his lip was playing up and therefore he never got the best out of his horn. Fair comment, perhaps, but getting one out of the man’s two major talents – trumpet playing and singing – could be viewed as good enough.

The two added tracks have Ella in the company of the Armstrong All-Stars line-up from 1956, virtually the group which appeared in the High Society biopic from that year. The album is presented on 180-gram coloured vinyl.

LP1: (1) Overture; Summertime; I Wants To Stay Here; My Man’s Gone Now; I Got Plenty Of Nuttin’; Buzzard Song; Bess, You Is My Woman Now (36.59)
LP2: It Ain’t Necessarily So; What You Want Wid Bess?; A Woman Is A Sometime Thing; Oh, Doctor Jesus; Medley: Here Comes De Honey Man / Crab Man / Oh, Dey’s So Fresh And Fine (Strawberry Woman); There’s A Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon For New York; Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess; (2) Oh, Lawd, I’m On My Way; (3) You Won’t Be Satisfied; Undecided (37.21)

(1) Fitzgerald (v); Armstrong (t, v) plus orchestra conducted by Russell Garcia. Los Angeles, 18-19, 28 August, 14 October 1957.
(2) as (1) but add the Judd Conlon Singers.
(3) Fitzgerald (v); Armstrong (t, v), Trummy Young (tb); Edmond Hall (cl); Billy Kyle (p); Dale Jones (b); Barrett Deems (d). Hollywood Bowl, 15 August 1956.
Waxtime In Color 772299