I have had a wonderful time over the years listening to all of Ella Fitzgerald’s live performances that I could put my hand on. Fortunately, Mr. Norman Granz recorded Ella in abundance throughout her career. After much debate here are my top 5 live recordings by the First Lady Of Song.
1. Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington – The Stockholm Concert, 1966
This recording is my absolute favorite live recording by Ella, who is back by Duke Ellington and his men. Even though, Duke doesn’t play on most of the songs his presence is definitely felt. Interesting tidbits about this recording: Ella’s voice was beginning to deepen and her vocal styling was starting to be heavily influenced by Aretha Franklin and Etta James.
2. Ella Fitzgerald – Ella at Juan-Les-Pins, 1964
Ella was a beast on this 1964 concert, she was in a cheerful and confident musical space, which is a treat for anyone that loves to experience Ella Fitzgerald live. Ella handles each song with finesse and charm. Ella’s voice is strong during this recording.
3. Ella Fitzgerald – Ella in London, 1974
The seventies saw the decline of the purity of Ella’s voice, however on stage Ella was still a pro. This set finds Ella in a very cheerful and playful mood with the audience. Even though, her vocal prowess and tones may have changed, Ella little girl quality still shines through.
4. Ella Fitzgerald – Twelve Nights In Hollywood, 1961
Twelve Nights in Hollywood is a ollectors dream, packe with wonderful intimate performances by the The First Lady of Song at the peak of her form. Even though, Ella has recorded tons of live recording, Twelve Night in Hollywood is the only recording that Ell Fitzgerald sings songs from her famous songbook recording.
5. Ella Fitzgerald – Ella in Rome, 1958
This recording finds the First Lady of Song at the peak of her powers. Ella in Rome is a wonderful mix of ballads and scatting. This album presents Ella at here vocal best.