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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Ella & Louis / Ella & Louis Again [Blu-ray Audio]  





Review by Gary Tooze


Producer: Universal Music Group



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Total Music time: 0:54:22.842 (Ella and Louis) + 1:30:26.087 (Ella and Louis Again)

Disc Size: 16,731,823,648 bytes

Chapters: 30 (one per song)

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October 13th, 2013



LPCM Audio English 4608 kbps 2.0 / 96 kHz / 4608 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3313 kbps 2.0 / 96 kHz / 3313 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 3.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 2354 kbps 2.0 / 96 kHz / 2354 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Embedded: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)



16-page liner notes leaflet ( original liner notes by John MsDonough, John Sinclair, and Norman Granz)

The cover has pictures of both Verve albums

A paper with a code to access the Blu-ray disc digital downloads online*


Track Listing:

Ella And Louis
1. "Can't We Be Friends?" (Paul James, Kay Swift) – 3:47
2. "Isn't This a Lovely Day?" (Irving Berlin) – 6:16
3. "Moonlight in Vermont" (John Blackburn, Karl Suessdorf) – 3:42
4. "They Can't Take That Away from Me" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) – 4:39
5. "Under a Blanket of Blue" (Jerry Livingston, Al J. Neiburg, Marty Symes) – 4:18
6. "Tenderly" (Walter Gross, Jack Lawrence) - 5:10
7. "A Foggy Day" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) – 4:32
8. "Stars Fell on Alabama" (Mitchell Parish, Frank Perkins) – 3:34
9. "Cheek to Cheek" (Berlin) – 5:53
10, "The Nearness of You" (Hoagy Carmichael, Ned Washington) – 5:42
11. "April in Paris" (Vernon Duke, Yip Harburg) – 6:33

Ella And Louis Again
12. "Don't Be That Way" (Benny Goodman, Mitchell Parish, Edgar Sampson) – 5:01
13. "Makin' Whoopee" - Louis Armstrong solo vocal (Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn) – 3:59
14. "They All Laughed" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) – 3:50
15. "Comes Love" - Ella Fitzgerald solo vocal (Lew Brown, Sam H. Stept, Charles Tobias) – 2:28
16. "Autumn in New York" (Vernon Duke) – 6:00
17. "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love" - Louis Armstrong solo vocal (Cole Porter) – 8:44
18. "Stompin' at the Savoy" (Goodman, Andy Razaf, Sampson, Chick Webb) – 5:16
19. "I Won't Dance" (Dorothy Fields, Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach, Jerome Kern, Jimmy McHugh) – 4:47
20. "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You" (Razaf, Don Redman) – 4:11
21. "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) – 4:15
22. "These Foolish Things" - Ella Fitzgerald solo vocal (Harry Link, Holt Marvell, Jack Strachey) – 7:40
23. "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" (Irving Berlin) – 3:12
24. "Willow Weep for Me" - Louis Armstrong solo vocal (Ann Ronell) – 4:21
25. "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket" (Berlin) – 3:28
26. "A Fine Romance" (Fields, Kern) – 3:56
28. "Ill Wind" - Ella Fitzgerald solo vocal (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler) – 3:45
28. "Love Is Here to Stay" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) – 4:01
29. "I Get a Kick out of You" - Louis Armstrong solo vocal (Porter) – 4:21
30. "Learnin' the Blues" (Delores Vicki Silvers) – 7:11


Ella And Louis
Ella Fitzgerald, vocals
Louis Armstrong, trumpet, vocals
Oscar Peterson, piano
Herb Ellis, guitar
Ray Brown, bass
Buddy Rich, drums

Ella And Louis Again
Ella Fitzgerald, vocals
Louis Armstrong, vocals
Oscar Peterson, piano
Herb Ellis, guitar
Ray Brown, bass
Louie Bellson, drums





Description: Two of the most influential and popular voices in modern music, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong form a jazz dream team on Ella and Louis. A once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece, their distinctive vocals meld seamlessly together along with Armstrong's exceptional trumpet playing and the first-rate accompaniment of pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Buddy Rich. This recording has become the touchstone and template for jazz vocal duets.

"There isn't much one can say about an album whose title is Ella And Louis Again. The "again" obviously means they've already done one album together and beyond that, what can you say about two people like Ella and Louis? I doubt that there's anyone today who loves music, who doesn't know Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. About all that can be pointed out, I suppose, is that we've again selected some of the best product of some of the best songwriters of our age. The backing, with the Oscar Peterson Trio and Louis Bellson substituting for Buddy Rich, remains, as in the first album, quiet, discreet, swinging."

- Norman Granz from the original liner notes


NOTE: BOTH albums are found on this one Blu-ray audio disc.


*From Daniel Lalla (friend): "One warning: some of the Blu-ray Audio discs I've purchased from Europe include a download code that works, but it is only at CD resolution. So if you want the full audio (usually at 24/96 resolution which is silly since Blu-ray could easily accommodate any resolution like 24/192 or even newer higher resolution formats) you need a program like DVD Audio Extractor to get the music off the disc and onto a server or computer. But it's well worth the effort."




The Albums:

Ella and Louis is a 1956 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, accompanied by the Oscar Peterson Quartet. Having previously collaborated in the late 1940s for the Decca label, this was the first of three albums that Fitzgerald and Armstrong were to record together for Verve Records. Norman Granz, the founder of the Verve label, selected eleven ballads for Fitzgerald and Armstrong, mainly played in a slow or moderate tempo.

Ella and Louis Again is a 1957 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. It is the "sequel" to their 1956 album, Ella and Louis, in contrast to their previous collaboration Ella and Louis, this album does not only feature duets. It was reissued in 2006 on a 2 CD-set as Verve 0602517036918.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

Comments :

Adopters of Blu-ray immediately notice that lossless audio transfer is one of the most valuable benefits of this new format. Not only surround separation but the depth, resonance and overall purity exporting capabilities of the lossless and uncompressed sound formats. DVDBeaver prefers technical comparison as analysis. Unfortunately, I don't know of a way of extracting the tech info from the Hybrid SACDs of Ella / Louis and Ella and Louis Again (that I own) to compare its merits to this Blu-ray audio. So my review will rely on my ears! I have a system with a Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player  and can toggle back and forth between my Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray/SACD Player trying to notice/listen to differences. Both sound great the BD audio is superior in a few important areas!


Audio :

This was recorded in July-August of 1957. UME are using the original master tapes transferred to uncompressed files, mastered at 24bit/96kHz. This elevates Blu-ray Audio discs to a new, more pure, level - hopefully the most accurate replication of the original studio sound - when recorded. While this can be played without, your video system being on I did find some difficulty moving back from the second Ella and Louis Again album to the next using the remote and preferred the video screen on (it just made it less complicated) but the BD audio plays tracks 1 thru 30 consecutively without issue.


This Blu-ray audio is transferred at 2.0 channel. I appreciate the options. You can choose from 3 selections: Linear PCM at a whopping 4608 kbps, DTS-HD Master at 3313 kbps or Dolby TrueHD at 2354 kbps. Discerning music fans may note differences. I've settled on the Linear PCM for the trumpets and piano. I found this incredibly impressive, but it's cool to be able to change the option and sample another format (which one can do on-the-fly from either the onscreen display - see image above - or without your video display on - directly from the Blu-ray audio remote button.)


Does it sound superior to the SACD? On my system this was certainly noticeable to my ears -  in the incredible crispness of Ella's vocals as well as the depth of Peterson's piano, Ray Brown's bass and Armstrong's trumpet. This album absolutely knocked my socks off in this uncompressed, pure, format. I played it for two friends who were equally as blown away. Absolutely brilliant!


NOTE: The file size (16 Gig) is moving in the direction I was hoping - offering multiple albums on one Blu-ray disc since it is surely capable. They could have included Porgy and Bess since all three were released as The Complete Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong by Verve. Perhaps this is just the beginning! Let's see how this Blu-ray audio format evolves. I'm very excited about the capabilities!  


My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc (like CDs) playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

The only supplement is a 16-page liner notes leaflet with liner notes by John MsDonough, John Sinclair, and Norman Granz. It also has the paper for a code to access the Blu-ray disc digital downloads but be aware of Daniel's experience (above) who found them only CD-quality (not 96 kHz / 24-bit).


This is, by far, the best Blu-ray Audio disc I own (I have 12 now). I loved the SACDs but this is advanced resonance and plays for just shy of 2.5 hours! Where the other BD Audio discs were 3 Gig - this is 16!! So, I can't extol it enough. Incredible value and perfect music to relax to on a Sunday morning brunch or for an intimate dinner party. Our highest recommendation!   

Gary Tooze

November 30th, 2013




About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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