Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme: Live at the Crescendo

Performances from a Hollywood nightclub by two great 20th-century interpreters of American popular song.

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Ella Fitzgerald 12 Nights In Hollywood Album Cover

Photo: Album Cover

Ella Fitzgerald's live performances from the Crescendo nightclub.

This week Afterglow features live performances from the Crescendo nightclub by two great 20th-century interpreters of American popular song–Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme. The Crescendo was a nightclub on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood owned by Gene Norman, a Los Angeles jazz DJ and promoter who put out a number of live recordings on his own record label. Recently some Ella Fitzgerald recordings at the club from the early 1960s have come out, a 4-CD set of music that’s never been released before, with Fitzgerald in her vocal prime, backed by an excellent small group that included Lou Levy on piano and Herb Ellis on guitar.

Mel Torme also recorded at the Crescendo—three albums in all in the 1950s. Torme was one of the so-called “vo-cool” singers, but also a talented drummer, songwriter, and entertainer who always managed to seem very much at ease on stage, and whose live performances are full of a laidback zest. We’ll hear music from his Crescendo recordings as well.

Music Heard On This Episode

But Not For me
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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But Not For me
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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Goody Goody
Mel Torme — The Mel Torme Collection (Rhino/WEA, 1996)
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Ac-cen-tchu-ate the Positive
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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I'm Glad There Is You
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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Give Me the Simple Life
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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Just One of Those Things
Mel Torme — The Bethlehem Years (Shout Factory, 2005)
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I'm Beginning to See the Light
Mel Torme — The Bethlehem Years (Shout Factory, 2005)
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Lorelei
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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Imagination
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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Walkin' By the River
Lou Donaldson — Light Foot (Blue Note)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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Little Girl Blue
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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You're Driving Me Crazy
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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That Old Black Magic
Mel Torme — The Mel Torme Collection (Rhino/WEA, 1996)
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Mountain Greenery
Mel Torme — The Mel Torme Collection (Rhino/WEA, 2009)
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Bernie's Tune
Mel Torme — The Mel Torme Collection (Rhino/WEA, 1996)
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Baby Won't You Please Come Home
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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How High the Moon
Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights in Hollywood (Hip-O Select, 2009)
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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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