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“We don’t think we’ve had a more enthusiastic audience in all of Europe” … these are the words that Norman Granz says at the end of this wonderful 1957 performance by Ella Fitzgerald and her all-star line-up in Brussels. Ella had joined Granz' label the year before, and together they delivered her famed Songbook series, a project that increased her worldwide renown. He was also stridently opposed to the persistent racism American south, and made a point of removing signs that segregated audience members into different sections.
At this point Ella was at the peak of her career, a forty-year-old black woman with the world on a string. Her band-mates included the likes of bassist Ray Brown (to whom she was married until 1953), the incomparable Oscar Peterson, the slick Herb Ellis, the metronomic Jo Jones, Roy Eldridge and more. It is about as stellar line-up as possible, and Ella moves from down-tempo masterpieces like “Angel Eyes” to timeless classics like “It Don’t Mean A Thing.” A glimpse of pioneering vocal brilliance and enough charisma to fill twenty stages.