Audiophile Reissue of the Album That Launched Verve Records: Cut from the Original Mono Tapes by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, Pressed and Plated at RTI, the World's Best Pressing Plant
On February 7, 1956 Ella Fitzgerald was at the Capitol Studios in Hollywood to begin one of the most remarkable series of recordings in the history of modern music. Joining her was Norman Granz, the founder and guiding light behind Verve Records and his arranger and A&R man, 15-year-old Buddy Bregman. They were there to start work on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, it was to be the first in a series of albums where Ella explored the Great American Songbook, songwriter by songwriter.
The combination of Ella and Porter is irresistible and whether up-tempo or down-tempo, Ella's three-octave range soars effortlessly as she makes each song come to life. All helped by the cream of L.A. session men and Buddy Bregman's arrangement that ooze sophistication, sophistication that is way beyond his years. It is a perfect record. The record was completed after four separate days of recording on March 27.
The thirty-two tracks, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook, came out on May 15, 1956 as a double album. By July it had made No. 15 on the Billboard Best Sellers list after Verve had taken an extensive advertising campaign in Esquire, The New Yorker, High Fidelity and a dozen Sunday newspapers across America. In September Ella was the headliner on the annual Jazz at the Philharmonic autumn tour of America. By the end of the year the double LP was No. 18 on the list of Best Sellers for the whole year, one that was dominated by soundtrack albums.
Ella's performances here and on the other songbooks she did in the series have proven to be so brilliant and by the same token so important. And it should not go unmentioned what a clever idea it was by Granz to create the songbook series of recordings with his most prized asset on Verve Records. It was an idea he tried out with Oscar Peterson on Clef records, one of Granz's labels before he started Verve. It may have been an old idea thought of again, but it is a brilliant concept, one that the entire record industry has replicated many times since.
In celebration of the album's 60th anniversary, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book is being given an audiophile reissue in 2016. The box set includes three 180-gram LPs cut from the original mono tapes by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, and pressed and plated at RTI.