One of the things that gets me as I’m ploughing through these early days in the late fifties is that it’s hard trying to imagine a time where music that, to modern ears at least, sounds completely vintage was utterly contemporary. Ella Fitzgerald, no one will doubt, was a brilliant artist, with a voice that was crisp and hypnotic but powerful with it. And on this album, where she works her way through the best of Gershwin’s songs, she is at her best.
Objectively, it’s brilliant – she makes the best of each song, bringing joy to classics like “Let’s call the whole thing off” and “Stiff upper lip”, and emotive gravitas to the likes of “Someone to watch over me”. Does it engage as an album? Well yes, but for me it’s hard to imagine this as contemporary of its time, as it all sounds so classic. A great listen mind.