Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" by Ella Fitzgerald

When Ella Fitzgerald made her singing debut in November 1934 not even she could have known when she died - on this day in 1996, three years after her retirement - that her career would one day span 57 years, surviving and even thriving despite the vagaries of various culture wars and an increasingly capricious audience; when she stepped out onto the stage of Harlem's famed Apollo Theater on that fateful night all she wanted to do was dance. Intimidated by a previous dance act - the Edwards Sisters - Ella decided to sing instead; the rest, as we like to say around here, is pop culture...

Here she is, joined on piano by her fellow legend Duke Ellington, from a television special circa 1968; the song is one of his all-time classics, Don't Get Around Much Anymore*. In total, Ella and Duke recorded two live (Ella and Duke at the Cote D'Azur and The Stockholm Concert - both 1966) and two studio (1957's The Duke Ellington Songbook and 1967's Ella at Duke's Place) albums together, and this clip demonstrates the total ease with which they worked together.

*Also known as Never No Lament; lyrics by Bob Russell.

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