The Unlikely Pairing of Louis Armstrong With Ella Fitzgerald Is (Still) Pure Bliss

An epic new collection contains all they’ve recorded together, and more.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Album Review

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Cheek to Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings

On paper, they couldn’t be a less-promising combination: She’s a beatifically sweet chanteuse and he’s a gravelly voiced rascal. But the vocal collaborations of the sublime Ella Fitzgerald and pioneering trumpeter Louis Armstrong in the ’40s and ’50s produced a host of great music that still feels like pure bliss today. Collecting 75 tracks on four discs, Cheek to Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings includes their three albums together and a host of extras, including outtakes, singles and live performances. The essentials can be found on the two original longplayers Ella and Louis and Ella and Louis Again, where our swingin’ heroes spar and soar with playful grace, trading lines, scat singing and generally making magic on timeless tunes like “Stars Fell on Alabama,” “Can’t We Be Friends?” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” For fast relief from bad vibes, there’s nothing better.

 Have a listen here:


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend