Verve/UMe to Reissue Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Mack the Knife: Ella In Berlin’ and Jimmy Smith’s ‘Root Down: Jimmy Smith Live!’ on 180-gram Vinyl LPs on June 24th, 2016

Ella Fitzgerald - Mack The Knife

Verve/UMe to Reissue Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Mack the Knife: Ella In Berlin’ and Jimmy Smith’s ‘Root Down: Jimmy Smith Live!’ on 180-gram Vinyl LPs

Available June 24 as Part of Verve’s 60th Anniversary Celebration

LOS ANGELES, June 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Verve/UMe is proud to announce, as part of Verve’s 60th anniversary celebration, new vinyl reissues on June 24 for two long unavailable live performance classics by a pair of jazz legends – the peerless Ella Fitzgerald’s Mack The Knife: Ella In Berlin and funk-master Jimmy Smith’s Root Down: Jimmy Smith Live!. Originally released in 1960 and 1972 respectively, the albums display a high level of creativity from a pair of jazz masters. Though serving different audiences, the recordings are linked by exuberance, spontaneity and profound substance, hallmarks of jazz expression.

Recorded in front of an enthusiastic Saturday night audience in Berlin’s Deutschlandhalle, Mack The Knife vividly demonstrates Ella Fitzgerald’s unparalleled improvisational vocal artistry. With her regular quartet at the time – pianist Paul Smith, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Alfred Middlebrooks and drummer Gus Johnson – the albums swings furiously. While emphasizing as usual the Great American Songbook – “Gone With The Wind,” “The Lady Is A Tramp,” “The Man I Love,” “Summertime,” “Too Darn Hot,” “Misty” and “Lorelei” – Mack The Knife culminates in brilliant, extended excursions on Kurt Weill’s title piece and a breathtaking, scat-singing romp on “How High the Moon.”

Unplanned as a recording, this performance was serendipitously immortalized when Fitzgerald’s manager/producer and visionary Verve label founder Norman Granz allowed WDR, West German Radio, to record and broadcast the performance. The LP was a major hit, peaking at No. 11 on Billboard magazine’s 200 albums chart and becoming a landmark in the legacy of live jazz vocal artistry – the album that, out of many Ella classics, has maintained her undisputed position as the First Lady of Song for more than 80 years since she exploded onto the scene with Chick Webb in 1935.

Jimmy Smith, after almost singlehandedly redefining the Hammond B3 organ as a vital hard-bop instrument in the 1950s, then ushering in the Soul Jazz era a few years later, signed with Verve in 1962. At Granz’s label Smith embarked on several journeys, including a deeper R&B context, remarkable orchestral collaborations with Oliver Nelson and two extraordinary pairings with the legendary guitarist Wes Montgomery. But it was his live performances that captured the unmistakable late-night, down-home aura of the organ joint.

On Root Down: Jimmy Smith Live!, recorded at L.A.’s Bombay Bicycle Club, Smith is surrounded by a stellar ensemble of musicians who ably straddled the worlds of classic jazz and blues and contemporary funk and rock. All heavily in-demand, first-call players for both recording and touring, they played with a veritable who’s who of top R&B/Soul/Jazz artists including Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, the Jackson 5, Isley Brothers, Herbie Hancock and Les McCann. With guitarist Arthur Adams, electric bassist Wilton Felder (at the time also the saxophonist in the Crusaders), drummer Paul Humphrey, percussionist Buck Clarke and Steve Williams on harmonica, the band and Smith dive into a smoking deep-funk groove.

Root Down revitalized Smith’s reputation as a prime master of jazz funk and became a touchstone for a new generation. Avery Parrish’s iconic 1940 blues “After Hours” and “Let’s Stay Together,” a No. 1 hit for Al Green at the time, both get ultra-funky re-imaginations alongside balladeer Peter Chase’s “Everyone Under the Sun” (written for this album), a couple of Smith compositions based on his sign of Sagittarius – “Sagg Shootin’ His Arrow” and “Slow Down Sagg” – and most notably “Root Down,” which reemerged as a prominent sample on the Beastie Boys’ track of the same name on their 1994 album Ill Communication. Root Down is simultaneously being made available in high-resolution digital audio (192kHz/24-bit and 96kHz/24-bit). (Mack The Knife: Ella In Berlin is currently available in the same high-resolution formats.)

Whether one is a devoted fan of Ella Fitzgerald or Jimmy Smith, exceptional live jazz recordings or just wonderful music, these two albums are a must.

For more information, please visit:


MORE News on T.U.M.S.!

Brian Culbertson to Release New Album "XX" on April 10th, 2020 | LISTEN to New Single "Get Up!"
Singer Shawn Stockman to Release Debut Album "Foreword" on April 10th, 2020 | LISTEN to New Single "...
"The Stellar Awards: Music of Hope" TV Special Airs April 11th thru May 24th, 2020
Ricky Dillard to Release Anticipated New Album "Choirmaster" on May 1st, 2020 | WATCH NEW VIDEO for ...
Boney James Pays Tribute to Bill Withers with Cover of Classic Hit "Ain't No Sunshine"
R&B/Soul Singer Eric Roberson Offers Fans A Surprise 10 Song Impromptu Album - "Here To Here" | LIST...
Qwest TV Offering 30-Day Free Trial to New Users Throughout Quarantine Period
Charles Butler & Trinity Releases New Single "By My Spirit" Featuring Coko of SWV | LISTEN!
George Benson Releases Single "Give Me The Night (Live)" | WATCH NEW VIDEO!
Singer Darrell Kelley Releases New Single “The Coronavirus” | LISTEN!
Rexy* Releases New Music Video for "How You Feel" | WATCH!
Brian McKnight Releases New Music Video for Single "Nobody" | WATCH! New Album "Exodus" Arrives June...
Ben Tankard's Single "Passionfruit" Reaches #1 Most Added on Billboard's Smooth Jazz Chart
"Let’s Go Crazy: The GRAMMY Salute To Prince" to Air on CBS - April 21st, 2020
Blues Artist Rev. John Lee Hooker, Jr Releases New Single "Testify" | WATCH LYRIC VIDEO!
R&B Singer Noel Gourdin Releases New Single "Lovin' Up (You)" | LISTEN!
Pianist Christian Sands to Release New Album "Be Water" on July 17th, 2020
Singer Jonathan Emile Releases New Single "Solidarité" | WATCH NEW VIDEO!
Blue Note Records to Release Never-Before-Released Album by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - "Just...
Singer Earnest Pugh to Release New Music Video for "God Wants To Heal You" on March 25th, 2020
Singer Avehre Releases New Single "No Purpose" | LISTEN! | New EP Coming Soon
FKAjazz Releases New EP "Lineage" | LISTEN!
Marlon McClain to Release New EP "Funky Fridays, Vol. 1" on March 27th, 2020 | LISTEN to New Single ...
Dee Dee Bridgewater Announced as Detroit Jazz Festival's 2020 Artist-in-Residence
Songstress Jemila Richardson to Release New Album "Ten Miles Away" on March 20th, 2020
Pianist Orrin Evans and the Captain Black Big Band to Release New Album "The Intangible Between" on ...
Travis Greene Releases New VEVO Live Video for Single "Good And Loved" feat. Doe | WATCH!
R&B Songstress Tisha-Monique Releases New Single "Leave Your Mind" on March 30th, 2020 | LISTEN!
Singer Shonda English Releases New Single "While Traveling Through" | LISTEN!
Singer Tamika Scott Releases New Single "Go Outside In The Rain" | WATCH OFFICIAL VIDEO!
Singer Gregory Porter Announces 2020 U.S. Headline Tour
Titus Showers Releases Remix of "It's Gonna Be Alright" feat. Jermaine Dolly
Blue Engine Records to Release "Rock Chalk Suite" by The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynto...
Legendary Pianist Bob James' Unreleased Album "Once Upon A Time: The Lost 1965 New York Studio Sessi...
Concord Jazz to Release "Ella 100: Live At The Apollo!" on April 24th, 2020
Singer Lindsey Webster Releases New Album "A Woman Like Me" on March 27th, 2020 | LISTEN to New Sing...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *