Ella & Louis Again w/ Louis Armstrong (Gatefold)
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This was the second album pairing Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong produced by Norman Granz for his Verve label.
After recording a series of duets in the late 1940s for the Decca label, they were summoned by Granz in 1956 to make a series of sessions which would result in the memorable Ella and Louis. Such was the success of the LP, that the formula was repeated the following year with the making of Ella and Louis Again (their third and last album for Granz would be a version of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess).
Like its predecessor, Ella and Louis Again received a five-star review in Down Beat, with Leonard Feather stating that, ”Although this album could be faulted on a few minor scores –the occasional problems with intonations and organization, the feeling of emptiness sometimes created by the absence of other horns to solidify the background (this is no reflection on Oscar and company, who are magnificent throughout), the comparative infrequency of the trumpet work– the fact remains that on the whole, judged as entertainment, and from the perspective of anyone who has ever had a phonographic romance with either Ella or Louis, this set is more relaxed and more successful than their previous cooperative venture. It can hardly fail to break sales records for them both.”
To get such marvellous results, Granz surrounded the stars by almost the same marvellous quartet that had backed them on their prior LP, consisting of Oscar Peterson on piano, Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass, and Louis Bellson replacing Buddy Rich on drums. While the first album included just duets, Ella and Louis Again was a double-LP set and also contained some songs performed individually by either Ella or Louis.
Recorded in Hollywood, July-August 1957