Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Japanese limited edition issue of the album classic in a deluxe, miniaturized LP sleeve replica of the original vinyl album artwork.
Personnel: Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Andre Previn (piano); Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass).
Recorded at RCA Studios, New York, May 23, 1983. Includes original liner notes by Benny Green.
Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (1987, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Nearly two decades after her classic Songbooks series of albums dedicated to the works of classic pop composers, Ella Fitzgerald returned to the oeuvre of one of her favorite songwriting teams, George and Ira Gershwin. Accompanied by the Andre Previn Orchestra, Fitzgerald treats the Gershwins' work with wit, style, and obvious affection.
The material is stunning, of course. Mournful ballads like "But Not for Me," sprightly patter tunes like "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and thunderous showstoppers like "They Can't Take That Away From Me" are all equally outstanding. Previn's usual orchestrations are reined in somewhat, with Fitzgerald taking center stage throughout. Only a disappointingly brief medley of "I've Got a Crush on You/Someone to Watch Over Me/Embraceable You"--each of the three songs deserves its own space--mars this otherwise faultless album.