A masterful performance of the vocal art, superbly arranged by genius arranger Nelson Riddle and brilliantly played by his mostly unidentified orchestra (later Verve releases rectify this omission this problem by giving full band member listings). Many players can be guessed at as Riddle preferred to draw from a solid "stable" of first-rate musicians also heard to good effect on other Ella collaborations as well as recordings with Sinatra, Cole, Garland and many others.
All the songs here are well-chosen standards and like it's sibling album, "Ella Swings Gently with Nelson", are familiar enough to be fun to listen to without being common enough to be overused.
All are interpreted in an upbeat fashion; even "When Your Lover Has Gone" - usually a "downer" in the standards repertoire - is re-invented as a brisk, even joyous, swinger (along the lines of an earlier Riddle arrangement for the delightful Keely Smith).
Ella is consistently fantastic (as always) and her sense of swing is impeccable. Riddle has constructed some top-notch arrangements and is well-served by his orchestra.
Ella's solo vocal performance earned the album a Grammy in 1962. Why Riddle did not receive an Grammy for his arrangements over this period is a crime and a mystery (he finally received due recognition in the early 1980's after fashioning Linda Ronstadt's standards album "What's New?").
This album is a gem of tasteful craftsmanship and smacks of quality from a time when popular music was being mauled by the aural horrors and infantile lyrics of rock n' roll.
A classic album: a must-buy for all fans of Ella, Riddle and of good music in general