Verve Records just released a never-before-heard stunning live recording from the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald. The Lost Berlin Tapes, were recorded both in mono and stereo, at Berlin's Sportpalast on March 25, 1962. Accompanying Ella at the top of her game is a trio led by pianist Paul Smith, Wilfred Middlebrooks on bass, and Stan Levey on drums.
Listening to Ella is like listening to an old friend, and when she was on, she was on. Berlin was a special place for Ella, bringing out the best in her. In February of 1960, she gave a concert at the Deutschlandhalle, which became one of her best-known and best-selling records, Mack The Knife: Ella in Berlin. The album won her 2 Grammys and it went on to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Ella Fitzgerald: The Lost Berlin Tapes, came from Verve Records founder Norman Granz's private collection. As Ella's manager, he had a habit of recording Ella live, and we are thankful he did.
Opening with the ever popular "Cheek to Cheek," we are transported back in time. It immediately reminds us that we are in the presence of greatest and while it seems familiar, it's the first time we are hearing this. Throughout we get glimpses of her lovable personality. At the end of "Mack the Knife," she forgets what town she is in and winsomely says, “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m so embarrassed. This is where the first time I sang Mack The Knife and when I got to the part of the town, I couldn’t think of it!” It just makes the audience love her more.
With a wide array of songs from some of her most popular like "Cry me a River" to the more rare songs like "He's My Kind of Boy" and "Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie," she never stops swinging even when she sings the blues. She ends the album with "Wee Baby Blues," slow and smooth. Leaving the audience fulfilled and yet wanting more.
The album is out on all platforms now.