Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Joe Pass (guitar).
Recorded at RCA Studios, Los Angeles, California from January 29 to February 8, 1976. Includes liner notes by Benny Green.
Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (1988, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Joe Pass' virtuoso solo albums receive a lot of attention, but the guitarist actually shines brighter in tandem with Ella Fitzgerald. To paraphrase another guitarist, Jim Hall, having to play tennis without a net is the greater test of one's imagination and skill. Fitzgerald holds the dynamic reins. She croons and shouts, whispers, and soars. Pass acquits himself nicely as an excellent accompanist.
The selection of material is wonderful. Wrongfully obscure standards sit comfortably alongside creative interpretations of more familiar works. "Tennessee Waltz" is done as a delicate shuffle. AGAIN is one of those records that serves to remind that jazz is not always about furious blowing or about one's stamina as an inventor. Pass' eight-and-sixteen-bar solos abound in creativity and are devastatingly effective miniatures. But the effort here is to illuminate the material, not to overshadow it, and the duo does so to great effect. Fitzgerald rarely scats on AGAIN, preferring instead to point out more imaginative routes through the melody on her second time around.
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