Ella Fitzgerald with Joe Pass – Speak Love {Pablo}


Review by Matthew G. Sherwin (amazon.com)

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass will always remain the ultimate example of an accomplished, very special chanteuse and guitarist performing together, never giving us anything less than their very best. This CD is just one of three or four albums that Ella and Joe made together; and we get the rewards for all their hard work!

The CD track set begins with “Speak Low.” What a ballad! Ella’s voice is rich, warm and vibrant despite the fact that this set was recorded late in her career. Ella sings passionately and uses the full range of her voice to deliver “Speak Low” to perfection. Joe Pass plays the guitar well. It amazes me to hear just how much magic Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass could weave with just her voice and his solo guitar arrangement.

“Comes Love” follows “Speak Low.” “Comes Love” sports a romantic melody; and Ella’s treatment of the lyrics leaves you wanting for nothing! Ella plays with the tempo of her vocals as well; and this bolsters “Comes Love.” “I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)!” lets Ella interpret a classic, well known love ballad–and her rendition shines like gold. Ella’s vocals are placed squarely in front of the musical arrangement; and she scats really nicely, too. When Joe does get his guitar solo in the middle of “I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful),” he more than compensates for his staying in the background while Ella sings!

“At Last,” a ballad made so famous by the great Etta James, really shines as Ella sings this soulfully, slowly and passionately. Ella sings her heart out for “At Last!” Awesome! Ella scats just a little; Ella performs most of “At Last” as a ballad made all the more beautiful by the simplicity of the lyrics. “Gone With The Wind” features Ella singing with energy while refraining from being unrealistically boisterous for this number. Joe’s simple but moving guitar arrangement adds a lot to “Gone With The Wind.” I love his guitar solo on “Gone With The Wind,” too! Ella scats a little bit near the end of this ballad and she even ends it with a slightly upbeat sound at the very end as if to remind you she didn’t lose her talents as a scatter. If you want to hear Ella doing some really fine scatting, give a listen to “Blue And Sentimental.”

The CD ends with “Georgia On My Mind.” Joe starts with a few notes on his guitar; and although Ella and Joe keep the usual tempo they inject it with their own personal touch. Ella scats somewhat and Joe plays a few extra spicy notes on his guitar. The overall effect provides the album with a particularly strong ending.

The liner notes have a very brief essay by Norman Granz; I would have liked a longer essay but this is a minor disappointment. The cover art work has a great picture of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass together.

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass could turn out a set that would make even the very greatest artists green with envy. They never miss a beat on any of their flawless performances. I highly recommend this for fans of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass; and people who like classic pop vocals with a jazzy twist will like this CD, too.

Enjoy!

Tracks:
01 – Speak Low
02 – Comes Love
03 – There’s No You
04 – I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)!
05 – At Last
06 – The Thrill is Gone (Medley)
07 – Gone with the Wind
08 – Blue and Sentimental
09 – Girl Talk
10 – Georgia on My Mind

Personnel:
Ella Fitzgerald – vocals
Joe Pass – guitar

Recorded in Hollywood, CA; March 21 & 22, 1983.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

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