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.

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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:

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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