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Ella Fitzgerald’s Unreleased Live Album, ‘Ella At The Hollywood Bowl: The Irving Berlin Songbook,’ Out June 24




On August 16, 1958, only a few months after Ella Fitzgerald recorded his now classic album, Ella Fitzgerald sings Irving Berlin’s songbook, The First Lady Of Song performed selections from this album live at the Hollywood Bowl to a sold-out adoring crowd. Conducted and arranged by Paul Weston, who also arranged and conducted the studio sessions, this concert marked the only time Ella performed these iconic arrangements live with a full orchestra.

Widely considered his greatest achievement, Ellas Songbook records, featuring unrivaled renditions of the best songs by America’s greatest composers, are the cornerstone of the Verve catalog and the undisputed standard for jazz vocal recordings. At the first Grammy Awards, her album Irving Berlin earned Ella her first Grammy for Best Female Vocal Performance and was also nominated for Album of the Year. Aside from the lucky audience at the Hollywood Bowl that night, it was not generally known, until these tapes were discovered, that Ella had ever performed any of the Songbook arrangements live, let alone the existence of such an immaculate and sonically sumptuous recording.

On June 24, Verve/UMe will proudly release the complete, never-before-seen 15-song performance, aptly titled Ella At The Hollywood Bowl: The Irving Berlin Songbook, on CD, vinyl, limited-edition yellow splash vinyl, and digitally. This historic record, discovered in the private collection of producer and Verve Records founder Norman Granz, marks Ella’s first live Songbook release. It is also significant in that it captures the only time Ella worked in concert with arranger-bandleader Paul Weston. And, while she performs regularly at the Hollywood Bowl, this is Ella’s first full concert from the iconic venue to be released (notably, Ella was featured prominently on the album Verves Jazz At The Hollywood Bowl, recorded and released in 1956, the year Granz formed the label). The live tracks were mixed from the original tapes by Grammy Award-winning producer and musician Gregg Field, who played drums for Ella in her later years. The album is completed with insightful liner notes on the concert and the Ellas Songbook series by renowned author and music critic Will Friedwald.

Ella At The Hollywood Bowl: The Irving Berlin Songbook is available for pre-order now and premieres with a lively rendition of Puttin On The Ritz. The song debuts today, accompanied by an animated video, directed by Alberto Baroni, which cleverly brings the song and Giulia Pelizzaro’s dynamic album cover to life.

Pre-order the album here:

Listen/watch/share Puttin On The Ritz here:

While Ella’s live appearances had evolved over the years from her early big band years where she sang mostly in ballrooms with the Chick Webb Orchestra to supper clubs, theaters and halls of concert, she mostly stuck to a nightclub format of performing a selection of songs accompanied by a trio. This performance at the Hollywood Bowl was incredibly unique for her. As Friedwald reveals in the one-liners, But getting on stage with a full orchestra and essentially singing the stuff of a studio album, well, no one has. Neither Sinatra, nor Tony Bennett, nor Miles Davis, nor any of the other key innovators who helped develop what became the concept album. Friedwald continues, so why exactly did Fitzgerald and Granz choose to confront this particular music and dance in this singular way? We may never know, but the logical answer is that the songbooks proved to be such an important part of his budding career that Fitzgerald and Granz were determined to do something special in honor of the show. In progress.

And it was special. Across 15 songs, Ella and the orchestra performed dazzling arrangements of some of Irving Berlin’s best-known songs, including classic ballads How Deep Is The Ocean and Supper Time, Hollywood tunes Youre Laughing At Me and Get Thee Behind. Me Satan, and swinging up. tempo numbers Cheek To Cheek, Top Hat, Ive Got My Love To Keep Me Warm, Heat Wave and Puttin On The Ritz. The concert appears with an electricity not found on the studio recording as Ella feeds off the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd, whose applause and adulation complete each song.

The Hollywood Bowl, which celebrates its centennial this year, was a big part of Ellas’ life. She made her Bowl debut alongside Louis Armstrong in 1956 during a star-studded program, which was released as the double LP, Jazz At The Hollywood Bowl. Ella holds the rare distinction of having sold out the Hollywood Bowl in each of the five decades from the 1950s through the 1990s. In addition to headlining several times, Ella, who lived in Los Angeles for much of her career, also performed as part of the annual Playboy Jazz Festival; her last appearance was a few years before her death in 1996. Learn more about Ella and her history with the Hollywood Bowl here:

The voice of Ella Fitzgerald, the songs of Irving Berlin, the timeless arrangements of Paul Weston with an orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, Ella At The Hollywood Bowl: The Irving Berlin Songbook is the pinnacle of American song live and like never before .


Nicknamed “The First Lady of Song”, Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) was the most popular jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. During her lifetime, she sold over 40 million albums and received almost every honor an artist could dream of winning, including the Kennedy Center Honor (1979), the National Medal of Arts (1987), the Commander of Arts and Letters of France (1990), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1992) and 13 Grammy Awards. In 2007, the United States Postal Service honored Fitzgerald with a postage stamp.

Over her six-decade career, the queen of jazz has recorded over 200 albums and around 2,000 songs, making her the most-recorded woman and the second most-recorded performer in history. Among these recordings are works with some of the greatest musicians and legendary songwriters in history.

Fitzgerald’s distinct style has influenced several generations of singers and his work transcends generations and musical genres. She had extraordinary vocal range and flexibility and possessed an uncanny gift for pitch, rhythmic sense and flawless diction. Immensely versatile, she could sing everything from jazz and bebop to ballads, swing, pop and rock. With an unparalleled ability for mimicry and scat singing, Fitzgerald also produced melodic lines that put her in the category of great instrumental improvisers. His voice was supple, extended, precise and ageless.

She died of diabetes-related complications and died at her Beverly Hills home on June 15, 1996.

The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation was established and funded in 1993 by Ella Fitzgerald to fulfill her desire to use the fruits of her success to help people of all races, cultures and creeds. Fitzgerald hoped to make their lives more fulfilling, and she wanted to foster a love of reading, as well as a love of music. Additionally, she hoped to provide assistance to at-risk and disadvantaged members of our communities – assistance that would enable them to achieve a better quality of life. The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation Board of Trustees seeks to further Ella Fitzgerald’s goals by making charitable grants in four primary areas of focus: creating educational and other opportunities for children; promote the love and knowledge of music; including support for music students; provision of health care; food, shelter and counseling for people in need; and specific areas of medical care and research with an emphasis on diabetes, vision problems and heart disease.


1. The song is over

2. You’re kidding me

3. How deep is the ocean

4. Heat wave

5. Supper time

6. Cheek to cheek

7. Russian Lullaby

8. Top Hat White Tie and Tails

9. I have my love to keep me warm

10. Get behind me Satan

11. Let’s face the music and dance

12. Always

13. Puttin at the Ritz

14. Let yourself go

15. Alexander Ragtime Group




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