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Ella Fitzgerald
'S Wonderful: Ella In Japan
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Price: $35.98
SITE SHIP DATE: 4/8/2011
Ella Fitzgerald reigns supreme as one of the great, if not the greatest, singers of all time. She was a prolific performer, both on stage and in the studio – and, as we saw in late 2009, with the release of Ella In Hollywood, a 4-CD box set of jaw-dropping unreleased live recordings, a never-ending source of surprises.
            Prepare to be surprised once again.
            ’S Wonderful: Ella In Japan, a new release from the acclaimed Verve Select imprint at, is a brand-new 2-CD set of previously unheard Ella Fitzgerald: on tour in Japan with the Roy Eldridge Quartet in January 1964, she and the band were hailed as American jazz heroes, feted in every city, then recorded over two brilliant nights in Tokyo. They ran through Song Book favorites, a smattering of other classics and Ella’s own blues, first at Tokyo’s equivalent of Carnegie Hall (Disc 1), then in an invitation-only, late-night gig at a luxury hotel ballroom, with Japanese entertainers in attendance (Disc 2). Eldridge’s Quartet got their own set as well, joined in a jam session with local musicians. (Ella fans take additional note: this album features the first recordings of Ella with her longtime pianist Tommy Flanagan.)
Where was ’S Wonderful: Ella In Japan all these years? Ella’s producer and manager Norman Granz made stereo mixes, devised separate LPs for the American and Japanese markets, sent detailed memos to his staff – and then, owing to the abundance of Ella in Verve’s vault, cancelled the releases. Published discographies also had incorrect recording dates, adding to the mystery. After nearly 50 years, not only were the tapes rediscovered, but writer Marc Myers made his own discoveries with Japanese journalists and surviving musicians, and in the liner notes he tells the full story of these extraordinary recordings for the first time. Myers’ essay in the set’s 24-page booklet is augmented with rare photos from the tour as well as tour program reprints, and more.
            All 26 tracks from both planned LPs are now available for the first time ever on ’S Wonderful: Ella In Japan – a 2-CD collection equal to Ella In Hollywood and, to some, better than that award-winning set, as it’s Ella a few years later, a little more confident, swinging with supernatural ease.

Price: $35.98