Open main menu

Porgy and Bess (Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong album)

Porgy and Bess is a 1958 studio album by jazz vocalist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong and singer Ella Fitzgerald, collaborating on selections from George and Ira Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. In 2001, it was awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, a special achievement prize established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance."[2] The album was originally issued on the Verve label as Verve MGV 4011-2, then reissued on PolyGram on CD in 1990, as Verve-PolyGram 827 475-2.

Porgy and Bess
Porgy and Bess (Armstrong & Fitzgerald).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 1958[1]
RecordedAugust 18-19 and October 14, 1957
Los Angeles
GenreJazz, vocal jazz, light opera, swing
MGV 4011-2
ProducerNorman Granz
Ella Fitzgerald chronology
Like Someone in Love
Porgy and Bess
Ella at the Opera House
Louis Armstrong chronology
I've Got the World on a String
Porgy and Bess
Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson

The album is considered the most musically successful amongst the jazz vocal versions of the opera and was released to coincide with the 1959 movie version.

The arranger on this album, Russell Garcia, had previously arranged the first jazz vocal recording of the album, 1956's The Complete Porgy and Bess.



Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide     [4]

The AllMusic review of the album claimed "What's really great about the Ella and Louis version is Ella, who handles each aria with disarming delicacy, clarion intensity, or usually a blend of both... Pops sounds like he really savored each duet, and his trumpet work – not a whole lot of it, because this is not a trumpeter's opera – is characteristically good as gold. This marvelous album stands quite well on its own, but will sound best when matched with the Ray Charles/Cleo Laine version, especially the songs of the Crab Man, of Peter the Honey Man, and his wife, Lily the Strawberry Woman."[3]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin and Dubose Heyward, except where noted.

Original LP (Verve MGV 4011-2)

Side one

  1. "Overture" (George Gershwin) – 10:52
  2. "Summertime" – 4:58
  3. "I Wants to Stay Here" – 4:38

Side two

  1. "My Man's Gone Now" – 4:02
  2. "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" – 3:52
  3. "Buzzard Song" – 2:58
  4. "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" – 5:28

Side three

  1. "It Ain't Necessarily So" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) – 6:34
  2. "What You Want Wid Bess?" – 1:59
  3. "A Woman Is a Sometime Thing" – 4:47
  4. "Oh, Doctor Jesus" – 2:00

Side four

  1. Medley: "Here Come de Honey Man/Crab Man/Oh, Dey's So Fresh and Fine/(Strawberry Woman)" – 3:29
  2. "There's a Boat Dat's Leavin Soon for New York" – 4:54
  3. "Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?" – 2:36
  4. "Oh Lawd, I'm on My Way!" – 2:57



  • Russell Garcia – arranger, conductor
  • Vincent DeRosa – French horn
  • Frank Beach – trumpet
  • Buddy Childers – trumpet
  • Cappy Lewis – trumpet
  • Milt Bernhart – trombone
  • Marshall Cram
  • James Henderson
  • Lloyd Ulyate – trombone
  • Victor Arno – violin
  • Robert Barene
  • Jacques Gasselin
  • Joseph Livoti
  • Dan Lube
  • Amerigo Marino
  • Bill Miller – piano
  • Erno Neufeld
  • Marshall Sosson
  • Robert Sushel
  • Gerald Vinci
  • Tibor Zelig
  • Myron Bacon – viola
  • Abraham Hochstein
  • Raymond Menhennick
  • Myron Sandler
  • Justin Di Tullio – cello
  • Kurt Reher
  • William Van Den Burg
  • Tony Rizziguitar
  • Joe Mondragondouble bass
  • Chorus


  1. ^ Billboard Apr 13, 1959
  2. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame Database
  3. ^ a b "Porgy and Bess > Review". AllMusic. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  4. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 12. ISBN 0-394-72643-X.

External linksEdit