Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"It constitutes the final two CDs in the complete "Twelve Nights in Hollywood" box set. He found 14 hours of California recordings made over. The tapes sank into the vaults, not to be unearthed until jazz researcher Phil Schaap dug into the archives in 1988. 99 each, saving considerably over the cost of the big box.
These cozy dates, never released until 2010, come from a Los Angeles club called the Crescendo. . This compact set of two discs, formerly a Barnes & Noble exclusive, fits into a single CD case. They were recorded in 1961 and 1962. Together with "Vol. 1 & 2," these two sets present all of the music in the box set but in a more compact form, and they include many of the heretofore unseen photos in the larger album. While the performances could have been a hit originally, producer Norman Granz unfortunately gave them short shrift: a single poorly-selected and poorly-mastered LP that flopped commercially." -AllAboutJazz
Recording information: 1961.
Verve originally released Ella Fitzgerald's Twelve Nights in Hollywood, drawn from performances at the Crescendo nightclub in 1961 and 1962, as a four-CD set in 2009. Now, the collection has been repackaged as two two-CD sets. On the third and fourth discs, Fitzgerald reveals herself as an engaged performer with a strong sense of communication with her audience. She takes requests, whether she can remember the lyrics or not. (It doesn't matter, since she can improvise good words or just scat.) She introduces ringside celebrities including Walter Winchell and Carl Reiner. When she spots songwriter Mack David, she spontaneously decides to perform his song "Candy," noting, "I hope I don't mess it up. That's the only ones that sell these days." She is thinking of her recent Top 40 hit version of "Mack the Knife," on which she went up on the words to delightful effect. "You're Driving Me Crazy" has an appropriately crazy arrangement, with tempo shifts galore, while "How High the Moon" typically serves as a platform for the album's most ambitious scatting. She borrows from Billie Holiday's repertoire for "Good Morning Heartache," providing a good example of the contrast in their styles; in Fitzgerald's reading, there isn't much heartache, but it's a powerful musical performance. Toward the end, she takes up the then-current fad for twisting before finishing with two versions of "Bill Bailey," in which she sings impressions of Sophie Tucker, Della Reese, Pearl Bailey, Louis Armstrong, and Dinah Washington. In other words, these shows are anything but formal jazz sessions. Rather, they represent an entertainer dedicated to entertaining by any means at hand, who also happens to have the best vocal jazz chops in the business. ~ William Ruhlmann
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