Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington – Ella and Duke at the Cote D’Azur

Somewhere between the original 2LP set and 1998 “Full Concert Release” on Verve, we have Mosaic’s 3LP set of Ella and Duke at the Cote D’Azur. The audiophile imprint’s new version encompasses the two original records plus the Duke Ellington album Soul Call, produced from the same French concerts recorded live to two-track tape in Juan-les-Pines between late June and July, 1966. Interestingly, the Mosaic website states that there is no engineer credit available for the mystery man that painstakingly captured these performances. But Kevin Gray at RTI took great care to get the tunes to vinyl, and the results are spectacular. By comparison, Verve’s CD reissues are flat and strident.

Tackling jazz standards such as “Misty,” “Mack the Knife,” and the Gershwin’s’ “How Long Has This Been Going On?,” along with a sultry rendition of  “Goin’ Out of My Head,” Fitzgerald is in top form. No matter the tempo, she delivers a more unrestrained performance than what’s experienced on her studio sessions. It’s a treat.

The Mosaic staff is to be commended for giving this jazz classic the treatment it deserves, not only restoring the sonics, but also including a booklet with rare photos and excellent liner notes.  Like last year’s Complete Thelonius Monk at the It Club, the set is limited to 5000 copies. Grab this piece of history before it’s gone. -Jeff Dorgay

Mosaic, 180g 3LP Box Set