A "best of," as it were. I'd like to keep it at about an hour's duration, or 15-17 songs. I've looked at several Ella "best ofs" for inspiration and notice that most of them include "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," however I've never particularly cared for that song.
Some of my absolute favorites are "Angel Eyes," "Midnight Sun," and "Black Coffee." I'd also like to include some of her great live scatting numbers, like "How High the Moon" and "Mack the Knife."
What would be your dream Ella playlist?
Blue Skies, The Very Thought Of You, Body And Soul, I Got Rhythm, Lady Be Good, That Old Black Magic, But Not For Me, S'Wonderful would certainly be among them.
This Girl's in Love With You
Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead
Slap that Bass
Too Darn Hot
"Love For sale"
Cant Help Lovin' Dat Man is one of my favorites.
Her rendition of Cry Me a River gives me chills, its just that good.
the live Mack the Knife where she forgets the words (from Ella in Berlin I think).
Some of her best work IMO was in duets with Louis Armstrong, e.g. Dream a Little Dream of Me, Can't We Be Friends?, and my favorite, Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You.
April in Paris
Lost in the Stars
It's really a jingle, but a must is her version of "Love that Chicken at Popeye's."
From her album with Joe Pass:
Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You
From the Rodgers and Hart Songbook:
You Took Advantage of Me
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
This Can't Be Love
I Could Write a Book
From one of the Montreux Jazz Festival albums:
Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love
Betcha a Nickel
Too Darn Hot
I Can't Give You Anything But Love - Live
Night in Tunisia
Summertime w/Louis Armstron
Gotta have Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. Also, I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good).
Not to derail your post OP but if you enjoy the music of Ella, you should check out lesser known jazz great, Abbey Lincoln.
Mountain Greenery and This Could Be the Start of Something Big are both fun and less well known.
Always True to You in my Fashion, Begin the Beguine, Night and Day, It's De-Lovely, How Long Has This Been Going On?, Blues in the Night, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, She Didn't Say "Yes," The Way You Look Tonight, The Lady Is a Tramp. So many.
OP here. I think I've got it! Yes, I know I said I didn't like "A-Tisket, A-Tasket," but it seemed as good an opener as any.
- A-Tisket, A-Tasket
- Stairway to the Stars
- Oh, Lady Be Good
- How High the Moon
- But Not for Me (from Ella Sings Gershwin)
- Night & Day (from the Cole Porter Songbook)
- I Get a Kick Out of You (from the CP Songbook)
- The Lady Is a Tramp (from the Rodgers & Hart Songbook)
- It Don't Mean a Thing (from the Ellington Songbook)
- Midnight Sun (from Like Someone in Love)
- The Man I Love (from the Gershwin Songbook)
- Angel Eyes (from The Intimate Ella)
- Mack the Knife (from Ella in Berlin)
- Mr. Paganini (from Ella in Hollywood)
- 'Round Midnight (from Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!)
- Something to Live For (from Ella at Duke's Place)
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head from Live in Budapest
It would be easier to list the Ella songs that would not make the list.
Like Young (Nelson Riddle arrangement)
That Old Black Magic (Billy May's arrangement)
The Man I Love, Funny Face, A Foggy Day, Midnight Sun, Let's Call The Whole Thing Off, How Long Has This Been Going On (Gershwin Songbook)
Love For Sale
A Fine Romance
I've Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
Don't go for the usual suspects. If you really want to hear her soar, try:
* Why Was I Born?
* Can't Get Started
* I Don't Want to Take a Chance
* Good Morning Blues
* The Man I Love
* After You've Gone
I had Why Was I Born on my list but I accidentally erased it.
I have to agree about Dream a Little Dream of Me. So lovely and unexpected when Armstrong joins the song. Just perfect.
Some of the answers here sound like they're from people who got a greatest hits CD and no nothing more. Mr Paganini? LOL.
This is a surprisingly good album on MP3s, not the usual songs, Ella at Dukes Place:
R25, I was kinda sorta going for a "greatest hits" CD, though I wanted to include some of the more obscure tunes that I like as well.
Ella at Duke's Place is a lovely album; I have it, along with many others. I do appreciate a lot of the replies here - many of them are songs I haven't heard, but will certainly check out.
Ella has an enormous catalog and nearly all of her albums are still in print (even some that probably don't deserve to be), which is wonderful, but also extremely daunting.
How High the Moon from Ella in Berlin - mastery.
I saw Ella years ago in Newport Rhode Island. My favorite was Carmen McCrae
And OP, do NOT forget the albums Ella did with Louis Armstrong, especially the first one, Ella & Louis. I'm not as fond of their Porgy & Bess album, but Ella's "Summertime" with Louis' trumpet and full orchestra is to DIE FOR.
Yes--I Can't Get Started. Possibly my favorite record of any, ever.
Lots of good suggestions on here but my favorite song ever is "Ridin' High" on the Cole Porter Songbook Album. This song always puts me in a good mood.
Miss Otis Regrets She's Unable to Lunch Today
Exactly the song in my head when I read the title of the thread, r32
I would include some songs from her later Pablo albums with Joe Pass. When she started to lose her voice, she started paying attention to lyrics.
I've composed a 2nd playlist, which hopefully has less of a "greatest hits" feel to it, using a lot of the suggestions here:
- Miss Otis Regrets (Cole Porter Songbook)
- Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye (Cole Porter Songbook)
- How Long Has This Been Going On (Ella Sings Gershwin)
- Dream a Little Dream of Me (w/ Louis Armstrong)
- Can't We Be Friends? (Ella and Louis)
- Body and Soul (At Newport)
- There's a Lull in My Life (Like Someone in Love)
- Black Coffee (The Intimate Ella)
- Summertime (Ella in Berlin)
- A Night in Tunisia (Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!)
- Cry Me a River (Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!)
- Laura (Johnny Mercer Songbook)
- Passion Flower (Ella at Duke's Place)
- You Go to My Head (Take Love Easy)
- Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You (Take Love Easy)
- A Foggy Day (Take Love Easy)
Her punk/thrash covers were a personal favorite:
Anarchy in the U.K.
I Fuck Like A Beast
Holiday in Cambodia
"All the Things You Are", one of the finest pop songs ever written.
Live at the Santa Music festival, 1972, with Count Basie's orchestra. It's "C-Jam blues", most amazing jazz improv and scat singing challenge ever recorded with the best jazz musicians of all time. crank it up loud and enjoy!
R39, that was Ella's only real bad period - in between her tenures at Verve and Pablo. She should never have done those songs.
I did a 3rd playlist, which I think is the best yet:
- Funny Face (Gershwin Songbook)
- Nice Work if You Can Get It (Ella Sings Gershwin)
- You're the Top (Cole Porter Songbook)
- Stars Fell on Alabama (Ella and Louis)
- Blue Skies (Irving Berlin Songbook)
- If I Were a Bell (Ella Swings Lightly)
- Misty (The Intimate Ella)
- You're My Thrill (Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!)
- Shiny Stockings (Ella and Basie!)
- Why Was I Born? (Jerome Kern Songbook)
- Skylark (Johnny Mercer Songbook)
- Lover Man (Whisper Not)
- Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You (Take Love Easy)
- More Than You Know (Ella and Oscar)
- Dream Dancing (Dream Dancing)
I disagree r40, she's one of the few jazz singers who did pop songs in a way that ended up uniquely her own, and not cringeworthy. Chris Connor is one of the ones who tried to transition to rock/pop and it's really painful to listen to.
I've never heard of Chris Connor.
The ENTIRE album of Ella sings Gershwin! OMG!
Ella Sings Gershwin has always been a favorite of mine. It's paired with the similar Songs in a Mellow Mood (also an album of piano/voice duets with Ellis Larkins) on the CD Pure Ella.
[quote]What would be your dream Ella playlist?
It would involve all her biggest and wildest scat numbers.
You've never heard of Chris Conner? Well, I liked Ella best in her period of singing "I trapped my neighbor's cat." Fans turned on her, calling her a
cuntface, so she began to sing about Bette Davis.
ANYTHING that lets Ella drop to satin-doll effect and let her hair down!
"It Don't Mean a Think if It Ain't Got That Swing" - especially any later rendition, when her voice was raw but so was her sense of fun.
Early pieces, too. "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine."
But I'll take her "Paper Moon" if I have to listen to her smoothing it all out. It's just that she often lost sense and sensitivity when concentrating on vocal perfection - I think many of the Songbook versions were Ella wanting to do the perfect example of the song-as-it-was-written, and showing her voice as a controlled instrument of loveliness in the process. They often lost their edge and line-by-line meaningfulness.
Off-topic, but here's the perfect Ella, a little older, freer, and hotter than a pepper.
Her knowledge and command of style was so great.