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Ella Fitzgerald and Louis ArmstrongCheek to Cheek: The Complete Duet RecordingsVerve/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.
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