Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer, sometimes referred to as the “First Lady of Song”, “Queen of Jazz”, and “Lady Ella”. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, timing, intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing. Source: Wikipedia
Born: April 25, 1917, Newport News, VA
Died: June 15, 1996, Beverly Hills, CA

Ella Fitzgerald’s biggest hits – As Ella Fitzgerald’s spotlight grew brighter and bigger, so did her range. “Satin Doll,” her 1953 version of Ellington’s jazz standard, is a textbook example of doing the most with less: accompanied by a tight, demure band, Ella vocalized, simply and wordlessly telling a story with the ebb and flow of the melody. Even when she flubbed the lines, she won over audiences. “Mack the Knife” was already a hit by the time Ella covered the song in 1960, but a recording of her performing it with the Paul Smith quartet in Berlin – on a night where she forgot the words and sang some of her own off-the-cuff lyrics instead – earned her a Grammy.

“Cry Me A River” was originally penned for Ella by Arthur Hamilton, and though the scorned anthem has led many to the mic, her version in all its glowering glory is pure, potent emotion. “Blue Skies,” with the swell of the big band and her effervescent scatting, is a perfect example of Ella in her prime: every vocal flourish and captivating improvisation makes the song her own. Source: udiscovermusic

Picture credit: William Gottlieb
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