Ella Fitzgerald & Count Basie – An Import in 2004 Killed the Speakers Corner Reissue

More of the Music of Count Basie

More of the Music of Ella Fitzgerald

And back in 2004 that actually surprised us!

This review was written in 2004. We had never heard a clean, domestic original copy up to that time, mostly because they were always in such poor condition. Eventually we did, figured out how to clean it, and never looked back.

You might consider this a Wake Up Call. By 2007 we were awake enough to stop buying Heavy Vinyl to sell. The better our system became, the less competitive those modern remasters sounded. It was yet another Milestone Event in the history of Better Records. Please to enjoy our commentary.

This early British import (similar to the one you see on the left) KILLS the Speakers Corner 180 gram reissue.

I still like their version, but this is what it should have sounded like: tonally much fuller and richer. The 180 gram copy suffers from the standard reissue MO — brighter is not necessarily better, and definitely not when you have a big band and a vocalist, as is the case here.

I’ve never heard this album sound better and I doubt that it really can sound much better than this. This copy makes me want to turn it up as loud as the stereo will go and let those wonderful Quincy Jones arrangements come to life.

Another winner. How can you go wrong with these two giant talents?

I much prefer Ella’s album with Louis, or The Count here, to most of her solo stuff; she really loosens up and swings with the boys. One of the best Ella records after Clap Hands, this one has her fronting the ever swinging Count Basie Big Band.

All three of the albums on heavy vinyl place her in a different setting: Let No Man… (Classic Verve 4043, out of print now) has her singing with piano only; Clap Hands (Classic Verve 4053) with a small combo; and Sunny… here finds her backed by the big sound only a big band can make. Each of these is wonderful in its own right (although one of these is not recommended sonically, and that’s Clap Hands… on Classic Records) and each belongs in the collection of anyone who appreciates vocal music. She is The First Lady of Song after all. [Just not on Classic Records.]

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