Ella the master of pure feeling
Published 09/10/2011 | 05:00
Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass: Easy Living (Original Jazz Classics Remasters, recorded in 1983 and 1986).
This was the last in the series of duo albums that Ella Fitzgerald made with the great guitarist who frequently toured the world with her. Here Joe Pass is relaxed, self-effacing and strongly supportive in his role of accompanist.
The singer was past her prime and her voice was showing signs of wear, but the depth of feeling in these songs is unsurpassed in anything she recorded throughout her long career.
The poignancy of 'My Man', the dignified defiance of 'Don't Worry 'Bout Me', the chirpy scat-singing on 'I Want a Little Girl', all show her ability to convey a variety of moods with sincerity and conviction.
Most striking of all is Ella's mature revisiting of 'Love for Sale'. She invests it with a feeling of desperate disillusionment and loneliness.
Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Alone in San Francisco (Original Jazz Classics Remasters, recorded in 1959).
If you know anyone who has yet to discover Thelonious Monk, this solo reissue would be a good initiation.
His angular, searching approach to the piano made him instantly recognisable, and musicians of every style still love to play his unique compositions.
Beginning with 'Blue Monk', he establishes a thoughtful mood that continues throughout, with just enough quirky dissonance to add spice to numbers like 'Ruby My Dear', 'Bluehawk' and 'Pannonica'.
Other composers' tunes, too, get the Monkian treatment, like 'Everything Happens To Me' and Irving Berlin's 'Remember'.
JJ Smyth's is the place to be on Thursday night, when Isotope plays the music of John Coltrane, with Richie Buckley in the title role.