I was talking to somebody at work a few days ago about all of the public deaths in 2009, and they said, “We’ll be hearing new and un-released Michael Jackson tracks for the next twenty years.”
I said, “They’re still putting out Tupac records, aren’t they? You bet we’ll be hearing more Michael.”
Most un-released material wasn’t released in the first place for good reason, however, I’m not so narrow-minded as to think there aren’t gems to be discovered, or re-discovered. I got to thinking about this after reading a fascinating article in the New York Times today:
Yet Verve has just released “Twelve Nights in Hollywood,” a four-CD boxed set of Ella Fitzgerald singing 76 songs at the Crescendo, a small jazz club in Los Angeles, in 1961 and ’62 — and none of it has ever been released until now.
These aren’t bootlegs; the CDs were mastered from the original tapes, which were produced by Norman Granz, Verve’s founder and Fitzgerald’s longtime manager.
They capture the singer in her peak years, and at top form: more relaxed, swinging and adventurous, across a wider span of rhythms and moods, than on the dozens of other albums that hit the bins in her lifetime.
…There’s nothing rare about a joyous Ella Fitzgerald recording; the woman exuded joy in nearly every note she sang. Yet the level on these sessions soared higher and plumbed deeper.
Gary Giddins, the veteran critic and author of “Jazz,” agrees. “This ranks on the top shelf of her live recordings,” he said. “It’s about as good as it gets.”
I don’t know much from Ella other than I’m vaguely familiar with her work (my twin sister, Sam, loves her, and played her records when we were kids).
It’s not that I’m going to go out and buy this set, necessarily–although it does sound appealing–but the idea of it is amazing. The idea there are still hidden gems out there, tucked away in some warehouse vault…it’s enough to make your mouth water and mind float away in a dream.