Jazz Vocals

VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases

Sophisticated Partnership

08 OCT 10 ANNE FARNSWORTH

One of the most interesting of Ella Fitzgerald's many musical collaborations were her duets with guitarist Joe Pass, resulting in six albums for Pablo Records. One of the most stunning is Sophisticated Lady, recorded during concerts in Hamburg and Tokyo.

Pass was a frequent sideman in Fitzgerald's touring band. During the course of her show, the other musicians would leave the stage so Ella and Joe could play together. Audience response was so positive that Pablo founder Norman Granz decided to release the live recordings, as well as some studio dates.

Their mellow vibe was a great palate cleanser in the midst of Fitzgerald's high-energy sets. With Pass' sensitive backing, Ella purrs and whispers her way through beloved classics like "Take It Easy" and "Georgia." Her vocal creativity and humor shine as always and Joe Pass plays like a one-man-band, comping chords and running basslines behind his solos. He plays alone on several cuts, "Old Folks" and a burning "Cherokee." One of the standouts is the duo trading fours on "One Note Samba." With master artists like these, who needs a full band?