Ella Fitzgerald’s voice and the mastery of arrangers such as
Nelson Riddle and Frank De Vol have inspired vocalists and big bands for generations.
From Ella’s work with Duke Ellington to Stan Kenton, Billy May to Marty Paich – with this album we wanted to celebrate a cross section of that music.
Our aim was not to simply replicate what has already been, but on the final two tracks of this collection, with vocals from Alice Grace inspired by Ella and new arrangements by Michael Lamb channeling the work of Riddle et al, we have imagined what might have developed. To our knowledge, neither of these melodies were recorded by Ella.
Michael is MD of Strictly Smokin’. He conducted this session and arranged the final two tracks on the recording: “I Fall In Love Too Easily” and “There’s A Boat That’s Leaving Soon for New York”.
❝When we were deciding on the repertoire it felt important to not only record some of the arrangements that we’ve known a long time and enjoy, but also to take what we know of Ella and her various arrangers (see below!) and create our impression of what Ella might have done with some other melodies which she didn’t record.
❝”I Fall In Love Too Easily” is arranged here for just orchestra and Alice, plus a guest tenor sax solo from Vasilis Xenopoulos. It’s the only track on the album which does this – giving Alice lots of space to ‘streatch out’ vocally.
❝On the other hand, “There’s A Boat” is the extreme oposite – a hard swinging ‘romp’ from start to finish! Inspired by a show I saw at Pizza Express in Soho by Elaine Delmar and a combinations of the writing of Nelson Riddle and Billy May this one had to be the big finish which included both the big band and orchestra.❞
You can read more about the other arrangers on this CD by clicking below:
Alice Grace is a British jazz singer whose career began touring with established UK jazz big band The National Youth Jazz Orchestra and guest singing with the James Pearson Trio at the famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, before landing a place to continue her musical education at the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.
Alice sang with a variety of jazz and soul ensembles performing at prestigious venues such as The Southbank Centre, The Barbican and the Royal Albert Hall in London, as well as more intimate jazz venues across the UK and Europe, sharing the stage with some of her biggest jazz influences; Norma Winstone, Jacqui Dankworth, Cleveland Watkiss and Pete Churchill.
Since graduating with BMus Hons in 2010, Alice’s performing has taken her to many countries, including a two year stint in the Middle East where she co-founded Time Out award-winning band The Swing Revue; performing a packed schedule of high profile events and helping build a hugely successful residency at Jazz Pizza Express.
On returning to the UK, Alice joined her husband in the north-east of England. Here she continues her work in all aspects of music: performing, recording and teaching.
Bradley Creswick has a long association with Royal Northern Sinfonia going back to 1984 when he was first appointed leader.
His musical life then, as now, was amazingly rich and varied, providing some personal highlights such as the EMI recording of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and Concerto Accademico with Richard Hickox, performing Prokofiev’s Concerto No.2 for Radio 3 and recording all the Handel Op.6 Concerti Grossi with George Malcolm. More recent recordings include: Handel Concerti Grossi Op.3 for Naxos and the Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola by Mozart with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
In 1987 Bradley moved to London to lead the Philharmonia, still maintaining his relationship with the Sinfonia, making guest appearances, notably as soloist with them in the 1989 BBC Proms playing The Lark Ascending.
The London years continued as leader of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House before taking the opportunity, in 1994, to return to the Sinfonia and the North East for a second time. Working at Sage Gateshead now provides the chance to play with an even greater variety of musicians, such as James Crabb and Bruce Molsky.
Recently, Bradley has been invited twice to Marlboro Music Festival in America and is asked regularly to guest lead a wide range of orchestras. Playing with friends is a vibrant part of life and he relishes the chance to play with the pianist Margaret Fingerhut, giving recitals around the country; and has occasionally been heard playing western swing fiddle ‘back home’.