Personnel includes: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Benny Carter, Willie Smith, Ben Webster, Flip Phillips, Johnny Hodges, Stan Getz, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Zoot Sims (saxophone); Roy Eldridge, Cootie Williams, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Clark Terry (trumpet); Al Grey, J.J. Johnson (trombone); Oscar Peterson, Tommy Flanagan, Paul Smith (piano); Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, Freddie Green (guitar); Ray Brown, Keter Betts, Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson (bass); Ed Thigpen, Mickey Roker, Louie Bellson (drums); The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Count Basie Orchestra.
Engineers include: Val Valentin, Angel Balestier, John Timperly.
Compilation producer: Eric Miller.
Recorded between 1953 and 1983. Includes liner notes by Eric Miller and Benny Green.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1994, Fantasy).
THE CONCERT YEARS is an impressive four-disc box set covering the decades from 1953 to 1983. It was a time when Ella Fitzgerald was probably the most renowned female jazz singer in the world, selling out large theaters and concert halls when most jazz musicians could barely fill a nightclub.
These are all live recordings, obviously, and they run the gamut from big band dates--the Duke Ellington and Count Basie Orchestras, two of Fitzgerald's favorite collaborators, appear on several tracks--to more intimate trio appearances. The tracks recorded with the Oscar Peterson Trio are possibly the best of the lot, as Fitzgerald's voice is always front and center on them, in less danger of being overshadowed by showboating soloists. Not that even the most spotlight-grabbing of instrumentalists, such as Ellington's star tenor Johnny Hodges, can divert the listener's attention from that spectacular voice. This is live jazz at its finest.
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