The Unlikely Pairing of Louis Armstrong With Ella Fitzgerald Is (Still) Pure Bliss

An epic new collection contains all they’ve recorded together, and more.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Album Review

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Cheek to Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings
Verve/UMe

On paper, they couldn’t be a less-promising combination: She’s a beatifically sweet chanteuse and he’s a gravelly voiced rascal. But the vocal collaborations of the sublime Ella Fitzgerald and pioneering trumpeter Louis Armstrong in the ’40s and ’50s produced a host of great music that still feels like pure bliss today. Collecting 75 tracks on four discs, Cheek to Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings includes their three albums together and a host of extras, including outtakes, singles and live performances. The essentials can be found on the two original longplayers Ella and Louis and Ella and Louis Again, where our swingin’ heroes spar and soar with playful grace, trading lines, scat singing and generally making magic on timeless tunes like “Stars Fell on Alabama,” “Can’t We Be Friends?” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” For fast relief from bad vibes, there’s nothing better.

 Have a listen here:

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate