The more eager of you readers may be wondering why I’ve been so slow posting my reviews since returning from NZ. This review was the stumbling block.
Finding time to listen to a 3-CD set of jazz proved pretty difficult, given we were travelling by car and indulging ourselves with local classic rock radio (it was great to hear Van Halen and Living Color so regularly). Putting this on the headphones after a day of drinking wasn’t that appealing either.
So, the listening process was delayed until I got back in the office. And this collection is highly adequate for such purposes.
It allowed me transport myself (Quantum Leap style) back to a simpler time: a time when I might well have worn a hat into the office, and smoked at my desk (a-la Mad Men), and spent my evening in some speakeasy supping bourbon and swing-dancing (apologies for historical inaccuracies).
The tracks on this collection are all early career, be-pop leaning standards from Ms.Fitzgerald. They showcase her delicious voice, which so often acts like an addition to the horn section, while conveying more human emotions. The recordings are crude and sound like they may well be blasting out one of Edison’s early prototypes, but it all hangs together wonderfully.
I’ve delighted in listening more closely to the lyrics and pondering the capacity of jazz writers to find more and more entendres for sex and drug taking than Kiss and Alice Cooper ever have. I also have been wondering whether our grandparents naively ignored such imagery, or sniggered along with the rest of them. Did they bluff their parents with tunes about the Muffin Man and bubble gum?
Here’s one of the few clips of Ella I could find (on a nursery rhyme hit that may or may not be about anything vice-related):
File under: Timeless sassiness