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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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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