02/01/2013

Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook

Ella Fitzgerald
1956

You shouldn't need me to tell you that Cole Porter wrote wonderful songs. Nor do you need me to tell you that Ella Fitzgerald was an amazing singer. So this album kind of recommends itself. If you're looking for classic performances of Porter's songbook, you really can't do better.

And yet ... this is beautifully sung, arranged and recorded, and truly timeless - and strangely bloodless. I was pondering the use of "definitive" in the previous paragraph, but the versions here are not. Partly I think this is because they are too polite and contain no passion. Despite the quality of the performances - and they really are all top-notch; this is a lovely album to listen to - I don't find they linger in the mind. There's nothing to catch my attention.

My introduction to Cole Porter was via the superb Red Hot + Blue album, which contains some wonderful reinterpretations of these songs. Contrast the upbeat swoon of Fitzgerald's reading of "So In Love" with k.d. lang's doom-laden resignation on the same song (possibly her finest single moment); or  her lightly swinging "Night And Day" with U2's dramatic, muscular take.

No comments:

Post a comment