Sunday, 3 July 2011

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), also known as the "First Lady of Song" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz and song vocalist. With a vocal range spanning three octaves (Db3 to Db6), she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.

She is considered to be a notable interpreter of the Great American Songbook. Over a recording career that lasted 59 years, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush.

In her youth Fitzgerald wanted to be a dancer, although she loved listening to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and The Boswell Sisters. She idolized the lead singer Connee Boswell, later saying, "My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it....I tried so hard to sound just like her."

In 1932, her mother died from a heart attack. Following this trauma, Fitzgerald's grades dropped dramatically and she frequently skipped school. Abused by her stepfather, she was first taken in by an aunt and at one point worked as a lookout at a bordello and also with a Mafia-affiliated numbers runner. When the authorities caught up with her, she was first placed in the Colored Orphan Asylum in Riverdale, the Bronx. However, when the orphanage proved too crowded she was moved to the New York Training School for Girls in Hudson, New York, a state reformatory. Eventually she escaped and for a time was homeless.

She made her singing debut at 17 on November 21, 1934 at the Apollo Theater. in Harlem, New York. She pulled in a weekly audience at the Apollo and won the opportunity to compete in one of the earliest of its famous "Amateur Nights". She had originally intended to go on stage and dance but, intimidated by the Edwards Sisters, a local dance duo, she opted to sing instead in the style of Connee Boswell. She sang Boswell's "Judy" and "The Object of My Affection," a song recorded by the Boswell Sisters, and won the first prize of US$25.00

Fitzgerald married at least twice, and there is evidence that she may have married a third time. In 1941 she married Benny Kornegay, a convicted drug dealer and local dockworker. The marriage was annulled after two years.

Her second marriage, in December 1947, was to the famous bass player Ray Brown, whom she had met while on tour with Dizzy Gillespie's band a year earlier. Together they adopted a child born to Fitzgerald's half-sister, Frances, whom they christened Ray Brown, Jr. With Fitzgerald and Brown often busy touring and recording, the child was largely raised by her aunt, Virginia. Fitzgerald and Brown divorced in 1953, bowing to the various career pressures both were experiencing at the time, though they would continue to perform together.

In July 1957, Reuters reported that Fitzgerald had secretly married Thor Einar Larsen, a young Norwegian, in Oslo. She had even gone as far as furnishing an apartment in Oslo, but the affair was quickly forgotten when Larsen was sentenced to five months hard labor in Sweden for stealing money from a young woman to whom he had previously been engaged.

Fitzgerald was also notoriously shy. Trumpet player Mario Bauza, who played behind Fitzgerald in her early years with Chick Webb, remembered that "she didn’t hang out much. When she got into the band, she was dedicated to her music….She was a lonely girl around New York, just kept herself to herself, for the gig." When, later in her career, the Society of Singers named an award after her, Fitzgerald explained, "I don't want to say the wrong thing, which I always do. I think I do better when I sing."

Already visually impaired by the effects of diabetes, Fitzgerald had both her legs amputated in 1993. In 1996 she died of the disease in Beverly Hills, California at the age of 79. She is buried in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood.

The Complete Song Book Cole Porter  - Ella Fitzgerald 


CD 1
01 - All Through The Night
02 - Anything Goes
03 - Miss Otis Regrets (She's Unable To Lunch Today)
04 - Too Darn Hot
05 - In The Still Of The Night
06 - I Get A Kick Out Of You
07 - Do I Love You
08 - (I'm) Always True To You In My Fashion
09 - Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)
10 - Just One Of Those Things
11 - Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
12 - All Of You
13 - Begin The Beguine
14 - Get Out Of Town
15 - I Am In Love
16 - From This Moment On

CD 2
01 - I Love Paris
02 - You Do Something To Me
03 - Ridin' High
04 - Easy To Love
05 - It's All Right With Me
06 - Why Can't You Behave
07 - What Is This Thing Called Love
08 - You're The Top
09 - Love For Sale
10 - It's De-Lovely
11 - Night And Day
12 - Ace In The Hole
13 - So In Love
14 - I've Got You Under My Skin
15 - I Concentrate On You
16 - Don't Fence Me In
17 - You're The Top
18 - I Concentrate On You
19 - Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)


Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! -Ella Fitzgerald  (1961)

 01. A Night in Tunisia - Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Paparelli (4:06)
02. You’re My Thrill - Sidney Clare, Jay Gorney (3:35)
03. My Reverie - Larry Clinton, Claude Debussy (3:16)
04. Stella by Starlight - Ned Washington, Victor Young (3:17)
05. ’Round Midnight - Cootie Williams, Thelonious Monk, Bernie Hanighen (3:28)
06. Jersey Bounce - Tiny Bradshaw, Edward Johnson, Bobby Plater, Robert C. Wright (3:33)
07. Signing Off - Jimmy Campbell, Norman Hassan (3:45)
08. Cry Me a River - Arthur Hamilton (4:13)
09. This Year’s Kisses - Irving Berlin (2:14)
10. Good Morning Heartache - Ervin Drake, Dan Fisher, Irene Higginbotham (4:17)
11. (I Was) Born to Be Blue - David Clayton-Thomas, Robert Wells (2:42)
12. Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie - Ballard MacDonald, Joseph Meyer, Billy Rose (2:41)
13. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most - Tommy Wolf, Fran Landesman (6:13)
14. The Music Goes ‘Round and Around - Mike Riley, Eddie Farley, Red Hodgson El(2:27)
15. The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else) - Isham Jones, Gus Kahn (2:12)
16. I Got a Guy - Marion Sunshine (3:43)
17. This Could Be the Start of Something Big  - Steve Allen (2:43)

Total time – 59:32

Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)
Lou Levy (piano)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Joe Mondragon (bass)
Stan Levey (drums)


Ella In Rome -Ella Fitzgerald  (1961)

01. Introduction By Norman Granz
02. St. Louis Blues  – Ella Fitzgerald, Handy, W.C.
03. These Foolish Things  – Ella Fitzgerald, Link, Harry
04. Just Squeeze Me (But Don’t Tease Me)  – Ella Fitzgerald, Ellington, Duke
05. Angel Eyes  – Ella Fitzgerald, Brent, Earl
06. That Old Black Magic – Ella Fitzgerald, Arlen, Harold
07. Just One of Those Things  – Ella Fitzgerald, Porter, Cole
08. I Loves You, Porgy  – Ella Fitzgerald, Gershwin, George
09. It’s All Right with Me  – Ella Fitzgerald, Porter, Cole
10. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love  – Ella Fitzgerald, Fields, Dorothy
11. Introduction [In Italian] – Ella Fitzgerald, Granz, Norman
12. When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)  – Ella Fitzgerald, Fisher, Mark
13. A Foggy Day  – Ella Fitzgerald, Gershwin, George
14. Midnight Sun  – Ella Fitzgerald, Burke, Sonny [Arran
15. The Lady Is a Tramp – Ella Fitzgerald, Hart, Lorenz
16. Sophisticated Lady  – Ella Fitzgerald, Ellington, Duke
17. Caravan  – Ella Fitzgerald, Ellington, Duke
18. Stompin’ at the Savoy  – Ella Fitzgerald, Goodman, Benny

Ella Fizgerald: Vocals
Piano: Lou Levy
Bass: Max Bennett
Drums: Gus Johnson

* “Stomping At The Savoy” (Track 18) only:
Piano: Oscar Peterson
Guitar: Herb Ellis
Bass: Ray Brown
Drums: Gus Johnson

Recorded 25 April 1958
at the Teatro Sistino, Roma


Ella Fitzgerald – Ella In Hollywood (Live -1961)

01. “This Could Be the Start of Something of Big” (Steve Allen) – 2:33
02. “I’ve Got the World on a String” (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler) – 3:44
03. “You’re Driving Me Crazy” (Walter Donaldson) – 3:23
04. “Just in Time” (Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jule Styne) – 1:56
05. “It Might as Well Be Spring” (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers) – 3:07
06. “Take the “A” Train” (Billy Strayhorn) – 9:04
07. “Stairway to the Stars” (Matty Malneck, Mitchell Parish, Frank Signorelli) – 3:56
08. “(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have to Swing It” (Mr. Paganini) (Sam Coslow) – 4:05
09. “Satin Doll” (Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Billy Strayhorn) – 2:53
10. “The Blue Room” (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) – 3:17
11. “Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home?” (Charles Warfield, Clarence Williams) – 3:41
12. “Air Mail Special” (Charlie Christian, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Mundy) – 5:26

Ella Fitzgerald – Vocals
Jim Hall – Guitar
Gus Johnson – Drums
Lou Levy – Piano
Wilfred Middlebrooks – Bass
Norman Granz – Producer


Our Love Is Here to Stay -   Ella & Louis Sing Gershwin 1998

01. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'
02. He Loves And She Loves
03. A Woman Is A Sometime Thing
04. They Can't Take That Away From Me
05. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off
06. Strike Up The Band
07. Things Are Looking Up
08. They All Laughed Ell
09. A Foggy Day Ella Fitzgerald
10. How Long Has This Been Going On?
11. Summertime
12. Love Is Here To Stay
13. There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York
14. 'S Wonderful Ella Fitzgerald
15. I Was Doing All Right
16. Oh, Lady Be Good

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