Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ella Fitzgerald - Ella In Berlin: Mack The Knife (1960)

I love scat. It tastes great in tea, looks good atop antique furniture and is extremely amusing when practicing pivot points from G Major to A minor. Most of all, it's best when it comes from the great Ella Fitzgerald, one of my favorite singers of any genre. And if there's anything Ella can do, it's scat. Mid-tempo scat, improvisational scat -- hell, Ella is like the Eddie Van Halen of scat; she can do it without looking like she's exerting any kind of effort, and that's simply unheard of for some people. Can you imagine if she tried "Eruption?"

So why so much ado about this live performance? Well, cutting aside the numerous applause tracks, this is a fairly solid collection of some of Ella's most known songs and includes one of the most memorable renditions of "Mack The Knife," in which Ella completely forgets the words and must improvise on the spot with some amusing filler, notwithstanding her subsequent spot-on imitation of 'ol Satchmo. I mean, wowzas. Also of particular interest is "How High The Moon" -- possibly featuring the best scat solo ever and with some additional improvised melodic renderings. This is not to say you should listen to it just for the scat; Ella's versions of "Just One Of Those Things" and "The Lady Is A Tramp" focus more on Ella's vocal interpretations than her ability to form wordless strings of syllables. And for that, I suggest you listen to them, especially if you happen to be one of those jazz snobs who feel scat has no place in real jazz. I mean, really, fuck you. B-


Master Cianan said...

Oh, so scat tastes good in tea? You must be secretly german. I agree it's pretty funny when you see a fresh pile of scat steaming and attracting flies to some old antique. And it's not just amusing in a turnaround, it's amusing anytime.

Oh, you meant the singing? Sorry. It's interesting that you'd call her the EVH of scat, since Ed himself has done a considerable amount of guitar scatting in his various fills.
Also, Diamond Dave has done some fine scatting. Cab Calloway, though, that guy could scat.

I'll have to check this one out, I do like some scat singing, and on-the-spot lyrical invention is always a good time.

And thanks for that golden set up. Man, the poo talk came easy that time.

taotechuck said...

I read the first three words of the review and did a double take. "Am I at Bottle of Hair? I could've sworn I typed Mad Hatter."

Master Cianan said...

I know, chuck, low hanging fruit, right?

The Mad Hatter said...

Master Cianan,

I figured you'd enjoy it. It should provide me some advanced goodwill from what I wrote for next week.


Awesome. Just awesome. Your remarks can only bolster my standing under the judging eye of Grand Master Poo.

Master Cianan said...

That's "grand master poo and the fecal five", buddy.

Starrlight said...

Amen. Ella is a favorite. I actually listened to this album Christmas day.

I am now fixated on the idea of Ella doing Eruption. Thanks :P