Summer Jazz, William Price King meets Ella Fitzgerald -Part Three – The Songbooks

William and his music

This week in the Ella Fitzgerald story a slight change of format as we look at the eight Songbooks that Ella recorded showcasing the best music of the 20th century.. Enjoy the concert of the most iconic songs of the era.

From 1956 to 1964 Ella Fitzgerald under the banner of the Verve record label recorded eight of her very popular ‘Songbooks’ beginning with Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, which was also her first album with the label.

These Songbooks are amongst the most well-known of her many albums and the songs ranged from the popular Jazz standards to lesser known songs from the composers and lyricists featured and also some cross over for her non-jazz fans.

The Cole Porter Songbook was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000 in an award that recognised excellence in the previous 25 years. Here is the fabulous I Get a Kick Outta of You…

The second Songbook followed quickly in 1956, Ella Fitzgerald sings the Rodgers & Hart Songbook. Accompanied by a studio orchestra conducted by Buddy Bregman.. The four-sided Songbook was filled with many popular tracks including Have You Met Miss Jones, With A Song In My Heart, and My Funny Valentine..

Here is The Lady is a Tramp…

“Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook” in 1957 was the only Songbook on which the composer she interpreted played with her. Duke Ellington and his long-time collaborator Billy Strayhorn both appeared on exactly half the set’s 38 tracks and wrote two new pieces of music for the album: Tracks include Prelude To A Kiss, Take The A Train and Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. Duke Ellington composed and performed all the music with lyricists including Irving Mills, Johnny Hodges and Harry James. Here is Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.

The next Songbook in the series was in 1958 Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook. A studio album with music arranged and conducted by Paul Weston. It featured some of Irving Berlin’s most popular work and included Let’s Face The Music And Dance, Puttin’ On The Ritz, and Cheek to Cheek.. Here is Alexander’s Ragtime Band…

The next in the series is Ella Fitzgerald sings George and Ira Gershwin Songbook arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle. Some of the wonderful tracks included Someone To Watch Over Me, Strike Up The Band, I’ve Got A Crush On You.

The sixth Songbook came along two years later in 1961 Ella Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook another studio album and this was the only time that Ella worked with Billy May. Tracks included Stormy Weather, lyrics by Ted Koehler, That Old Black Magic, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and It’s Only A Paper Moon by E.Y Harburg and Billy Rose.

Number seven in the series was Ella Sings The Jerome Kern Songbook in 1963 again with Nelson Riddle..Tracks included All The Things You Are by Oscar Hammerstein and The Way You Look Tonight by Dorothy Fields.

The last in the eight Songbooks in 1964 was Ella Fitzgerald Sings Johnny Mercer in 1964 another arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle including Too Marvelous For Words lyrics by Richard A Whiting and When A Man Loves A Woman lyrics by Bernie Hanighen and Gordon Jenkins.

The Songbook series ended up becoming the singer’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful work, and probably her most significant offering to American culture. The New York Times wrote in 1996, “These albums were among the first pop records to devote such serious attention to individual songwriters, and they were instrumental in establishing the pop album as a vehicle for serious musical exploration.”

You can enjoy the complete songbooks.

Additional sources

williampricekingWilliam Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Links to website –
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Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –