23 Jul 2007

It was 50 years ago today...

Fifty years ago to this very day, perhaps to this very minute, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong sat in a recording studio in Hollywood with Ray Brown (double bass) Herb Ellis (guitar) Oscar Peterson (piano) and Louie Bellson (drums) and together recorded 10 of the finest pieces of music ever laid to vinyl, including Autumn in New York, Stompin at the Savoy, They All Laughed and Love is Here to Stay.

This picture was taken twelve months previously and was the cover of the first of two albums they recorded in just four sessions in two successive summers. When the picture was taken Louis was 56 and Ella just 39 - significantly younger than I am now.

Frighteningly, I have been listening to those two albums for over thirty years, so when I first heard the recordings they weren't really very old. The equivalent to my children listening now to music from 1987.

But not really, for Ella & Louis have no equivalent: she of the purest voice and he of the purest trumpet, individually they were stunning and together for those four golden days in 1956 and 1957 they were untouchable, unmatchable, ineffable.

The picture to the right was taken in 1952, while they were in their primes.

Louis died in 1971 and Ella, poor diabetic Ella, died in 1996.

The first time I heard Autumn in New York in the 1970s, it was on my parents' old stand-up mono radiogram. In the 1980s I played it at university on my Comet hi-fi. In the 1990s I bought it on CD and played it in the car. Now I am listening to a this .wma as I type,

To me this song sounds as fresh as when Ella & Louis laid it down - exactly fifty years ago today.

9 comments:

Snuffleupagus said...

How lovely.

Anonymous said...

How soulful...
How sentimental...
How ...

outside jane said...

I can't remember a time before I heard Ella & Louis.

outside jane said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

doesn't autumn in new york make you want to book the plane right now then go to vermont watch the sycamore leaves falling and see the ski trails on the mountainside...
After that april in paris, star gazing in alabama or maybe just visit the british museum in a foggy london town...

I, like the view said...

I really love Ella and The Ink Spots

:-)

Anonymous said...

Lovely piece (made me cry) So glad I introduced you to E&L all those years ago. Love Dad xx

Anonymous said...

Your Father sums it up!! Personal memories are very important and those that can be passed on to generations are Gold-Dust!! This without doubt, is the best Bogotol post yet - the most revealing! :-)

Old Fogey said...

I have just dug out and listened again to my scratchy 50 year old Mono LP of Ella and Louis again. "Let's Do It", "Makin' Whoopee", "Autumn in New York".
I can't think of any other singers who ever had a smile in their voices like these two. Perfect combination.