Thursday, December 24, 2009
Ella Fitzgerald's Swingin' Christmas Caper
YouTube - Ella Fitzgerald - Sleigh Ride
It's a cold case already. Going on three, make it four years since someone swiped my CD copy of the classic Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas. I've got my list of suspects. And you better believe I'm checking it twice. The ex-radio colleague with sticky fingers who was caught "inadvertently borrowing" another Christmas collection a few years back. A boyfriend with a penchant for pawing through my CD collection. A friend with an Ella Fitzgerald fetish. They top the list. But it could be almost anyone.
Here's the deal: I'm usually careful with my collection, but after segueing from music radio, where your show pretty much comes out of a computer nowadays to talk radio, I became accustomed to schlepping a portable library of CDS featuring everything from an array of rock tunes to novelty songs, comedy bits, and seasonal faves to use as bumpers, fills and for special features. So after a while, the contents of the tote, however shielded can be subject to the wrong hands.
And that's what I fear happened to Ella's genius 1960 Verve recording,a tour de force that swings through the great American songbook of holiday hits ( you won't find any traditional hymns here). The collection is one of two seminal contemporary Christmas albums; the other, of course, is Phil Spector's Christmas Album.
From "Sleigh Ride" to "Frosty the Snowman," from " Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" to "Let it Snow, Let it Snow," Ella infuses the season with her signature jazzy vibe. Quite simply, the First Lady of Jazz is the the epitome of cool yule. And no one can sing the heartbreakingly lonely, "What are You Doing New Year's Eve, " with Ella's rich, nuanced spirit.
Thanks to You Tube and lastfm.com, I got a quick Ella fix. Next year, I'll have to break down and buy a new copy of the classic. I mean, if the culprit doesn't come forward. Or isn't outed by Nancy Grace.
Drive safe. Make merry. Think peace.