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Ella Fitzgerald: 1917-1996
Ella Fitzgerald: 1917-1996
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July 9th
and July 10, 1996

A review by Jigar Parikh

Tuesday, July 9th: "Lady Be Good."

spaceThe night started off with Tommy Flanagan on piano playing a rollicking version of "Lady Be Good." Recently Flanagan had released an album called "Lady Be Good--For Ella" (according to the program guide). He also played something else that I was not familiar with. He, along with Paul Smith, played piano for nearly 80% of Ella's recordings and concerts performances.
spaceThen, Chris Conner opened with "Angel Eyes." She said that Ella claimed it to be her favorite song (However, other performers said the same thing about the songs they performed). Personally, I can't listen to that song without thinking of Frank rather than Ella. Then she sang a song I wasn't familiar with. Maybe it was called "Dream Lover."
spaceThen, Paul Smith who has played the piano on all of Ella's songbooks was accompanied by the great Harry "Sweets" Edison. Unfortunately, I did not recognize the one song they did.
spaceNext, was a BIG surprise: The host Jonathan Schwartz announced that he has a special guest. LENA HORNE walked out on stage and talked with Jonathan for a few minutes. Her voice was faint and she really didn't say much, however she did comment on how Ella's voice was like a "golden typewriter." To my disappointment, Lena did not sing.
spaceThen, Diana Krall came on stage. She played piano and sang "Goody, Goody." She was rather good. Next, she was joined by Russell Malone and Ella's ex-husband bassist Ray Brown. They performed "Dream a Little Dream of Me."
spaceThen, Bucky and John Pizzarelli performed "I Hadn't Anyone Till You." John sang and played the guitar while his father, Bucky, accompanied him on the guitar. Actually, Bucky remained on stage for most of the evening and played with the orchestra for almost all the songs.
spaceAnn Hampton Callaway did a great job with Ella's "How High the Moon" and "How Deep is the Ocean."
spaceThen, ex-Basie drummer Grady Tate sang a song I didn't recognize and to Ella "They Can't Take That Away From Me."
spaceRuth Brown sang Ella's signature "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" and "I'll Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Places".
spaceAfter the intermission, Mandy Patinkin came on and did a theatrical "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" complete with bullhorn. This was the first time I had seen or heard him. I was surprised and greatly enjoyed the performance. He performed both the voice of a little girl and that of a police officer. He was supposed to be there on the second night (however he did not show up) and did not seem dressed for the occasion. This led me to believe that this might have been a last minute addition to the program.
space Paul Smith came on again and performed Rogers and Hart "Mountain Greenery" on piano. Then, Paul was joined by the great guitarist Herb Ellis for "Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie."
spaceNext, Ray Brown did an avant-garde bass solo of "The Very Thought of You". This could have been my imagination, but I thought that I heard him put in a very brief bit of "Mona Lisa" (This seems plausible, as they are both Nat Cole hits).
spaceNext, Karrin Allyson performed a song I was not familiar with.
spaceThen, Carol Sloane and Clark Terry dueted. Again, the first was a song I did not know. However, the second was "Stompin' At The Savoy", and it was done in the same vein as the Ella/Louis duets...with Clark Terry playing the trumpet and singing.
spaceThen, my favorite artist of the evening,
Weslia Whitfield performed. She was brought to the stage by her husband/pianist and sang "After You" from the album Dream Dancing. And then she sang an absolutely amazing "Let's Do It (Lets Fall In Love)"
spaceClosing the night was Jack Jones. Last year he had ended the second night of the Sinatra tribute by singing "Luck be a Lady." He brought the house down that night, but this time he was not nearly as good. He started off with a lukewarm rendition of "Just One of Those Things" which led into an even worse "Here's That Rainy Day." He came off as someone more interested in having the spotlight on himself rather than Ella's memory. He closed his set with his own tribute to Ella: a butchered rendition of "Mack The Knife".
spaceMy overview of the evening (as well as the second night) is that there are some fine musicians out there--especially younger ones. However, it is only too obvious what a large void has been left with Ella's passing.

This review of both nights of "Carnegie Hall Celebrates the Music of Ella Fitzgerald" was contributed to our site by Jigar Parikh. All opinions expressed are by the reviewer and not necessarily held by the producers of this site.  This site rescued by