Ella 101: Heart And Soul (Day 23 of 101)
Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser's classic "Heart and Soul," known to piano students the world over, was one of many solid recordings made during Ella Fitzgerald's peak period but went unreleased for decades.
This shimmering string arrangement was recorded in 1961 during her Harold Arlen Songbook sessions. It's not a Harold Arlen song, so perhaps it was meant for another album, or perhaps it was meant for release as a single and got shelved instead. It was one of a number of recordings that didn't see daylight for the first time until 1993's First Lady of Song box set, which celebrated some of her finest material from the years she spent at Verve Records.
Billy May served as arranger here, and that's Plas Johnson on the tastefully cooing tenor sax; they combine with Ella's lovely vocal to create a sound that's pure romance.
BONUS: Look below for a live performance from the same period.
Here's a gorgeous clip shot for Austrlian television's BP Super Show in late 1960 and aired in '61. That's not a TV studio, it's a Melbourne jazz club, and a glamorous Ella is accompanied by the Lou Levy Quartet, featuring Lou Levy on piano, Joe Mondragon on bass, Herb Ellis on guitar, and Stan Levey on drums. The band takes it in a nice direction that dips its toe into saloon blues but never tips all the way over.
I did not know until today that this Australian footage existed. There are other performances from that show we'll take a look at down the road.
Ella 101 is a daily look at 101 essential recordings by Ella Fitzgerald, who was born 101 years ago this month. Tune in to Equinox, Monday nights from 8 - 11 p.m. on WYSO, to hear Ella and more great jazz with host Duante Beddingfield.