The Complete Cole Porter Songbooks

This is not and cannot be the Complete Cole Porter Songbooks, but it's a marvelous collection of 48 timeless jazz interpretations drawn from the Verve catalog. Recorded between 1951 and 1988, these standards, ballads and show tunes are rendered by some 15 vocalists, many of whom appear twice, and about 13 instrumental groups. In addition to the usual suspects (Ella, Louis, Sarah, Dinah, and Lady Day) there are fine performances by Abbey Lincoln, Anita O'Day, Billy Eckstine, Mel Tormé, Blossom Dearie, Shirley Horn, Betty Carter, Helen Merrill, Morgana King and Fred Astaire. The instrumentalists -- and this is most fulfilling because Cole Porter's music is an essential strand in the DNA of swing, bop, and mainstream jazz -- include Ben Webster, Sonny Stitt, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Bill Evans, Tal Farlow, and Jim Hall. That makes this a portable jazz library of considerable potency, pungency and depth. Also quite valuable as a tool for learning and appreciating some of Porter's very best songs. First prize for both artistic magnitude and friendly intimacy goes to Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson for their fabulously relaxed, nearly nine-minute rendition of "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love." ~ arwulf arwulf

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