Monday, April 25, 2022

Apr. 25: Ella Fitzgerald, American jazz singer


Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) was an American jazz singer who got saddled with silly nicknames like "the First Lady of Song", "Queen of Jazz", and "Lady Ella." These don't come close to expressing the purity of her voice or her masterful phrasing, timing, and intonation. Her ability to improvise (including "scat singing") put her in a class by herself. Her rendition of the nursery rhyme "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" with the Chick Webb orchestra put her on the map; her association with manager Norman Granz led to the formation of Verve Records to produce her music. She did movies and TV guest spots, and had long, fruitful collaborations with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and The Ink Spots among others. She gave her last performance at age 76 and died three years later in poor health, having received fourteen Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It's impossible to pick out single performances, but try "Mr. Paganini," "How High the Moon," and "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" for starters.



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