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Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald

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Ella Jane Fitzgerald also known as the "First Lady of Song
Jazz royalty
Jazz royalty is a term that reflects the many great jazz musicians who have been termed as musically gifted, honorific, "aristocratic" or "royal" and had titles added to their names or nicknames due to their strong musical abilities....

" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 and song vocalist. With a vocal range
Vocal range
Vocal range is the measure of the breadth of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Although the study of vocal range has little practical application in terms of speech, it is a topic of study within linguistics, phonetics, and speech and language pathology, particularly in relation to the study...

 spanning three octave
Octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

s (Db3 to Db6), she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction
Diction
Diction , in its original, primary meaning, refers to the writer's or the speaker's distinctive vocabulary choices and style of expression in a poem or story...

, phrasing and intonation
Intonation
Intonation may refer to:*Intonation , the variation of tone used when speaking*Intonation , a musician's realization of pitch accuracy, or the pitch accuracy of a musical instrument*Intonation Music Festival, held in Chicago...

, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing
Scat singing
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice.- Structure and syllable choice...

.

She is considered to be a notable interpreter of the Great American Songbook
Great American Songbook
The Great American Songbook is a hypothetical construct that seeks to represent the best American songs of the 20th century principally from Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musicals, from the 1920s to 1960, including dozens of songs of enduring popularity...

. Over the course of her 59 year recording career, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

s and was awarded the National Medal of Arts
National Medal of Arts
The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts. It is the highest honor conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the people. Honorees are selected by the National Endowment for the...

 by Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

 by George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

.

Early life


Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Newport News is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia. It is at the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, on the north shore of the James River extending southeast from Skiffe's Creek along many miles of waterfront to the river's mouth at Newport News...

, the child of a common-law marriage
Common-law marriage
Common-law marriage, sometimes called sui juris marriage, informal marriage or marriage by habit and repute, is a form of interpersonal status that is legally recognized in limited jurisdictions as a marriage even though no legally recognized marriage ceremony is performed or civil marriage...

 between William and Temperance "Tempie" Fitzgerald.For many years Fitzgerald's birthdate was thought to be on the same date one year later in 1918 — and is still listed as such in some sources — but research by Nicholson has established 1917 as the correct year of her birth. The pair separated soon after her birth and she and her mother went to Yonkers, N.Y, where they eventually moved in with Tempie's longtime boyfriend Joseph Da Silva. Fitzgerald's half-sister, Frances Da Silva, was born in 1923.

In her youth Fitzgerald wanted to be a dancer, although she loved listening to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong , nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana....

, Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

 and The Boswell Sisters
Boswell Sisters
The Boswell Sisters were a close harmony singing group, consisting of sisters Martha Boswell , Connee Boswell , and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell , noted for intricate harmonies and rhythmic experimentation...

. She idolized the lead singer Connee Boswell
Connee Boswell
Constance Foore "Connee" Boswell was an American female vocalist born in Kansas City but raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. With her sisters, Martha and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell, she performed in the 1930s as The Boswell Sisters and became a highly influential singing group during this period via...

, 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
Psychological trauma
Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a traumatic event...

, 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
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

-affiliated numbers
Numbers game
Numbers game, also known as a numbers racket, policy racket or Italian lottery, is an illegal lottery played mostly in poor neighborhoods in the United States, wherein a bettor attempts to pick three digits to match those that will be randomly drawn the following day...

 runner. When the authorities caught up with her, she was first placed in the Colored Orphan Asylum in Riverdale
Riverdale, Bronx
Riverdale is an affluent residential neighborhood in the northwest portion of the Bronx in New York City. Riverdale contains the northernmost point in New York City.-History:...

, the Bronx
The Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...

. 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
Apollo Theater
The Apollo Theater in New York City is one of the most famous, and older, music halls in the United States, and the most famous club associated almost exclusively with Black performers...

. in Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. 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
Connee Boswell
Constance Foore "Connee" Boswell was an American female vocalist born in Kansas City but raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. With her sisters, Martha and Helvetia "Vet" Boswell, she performed in the 1930s as The Boswell Sisters and became a highly influential singing group during this period via...

. 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.

Later life



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
Annulment
Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place...

 after two years.

Her second marriage, in December 1947, was to the famous bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

 player Ray Brown
Ray Brown (musician)
Raymond Matthews Brown was an American jazz double bassist.-Biography:Ray Brown was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and had piano lessons from the age of eight. After noticing how many pianists attended his high school, he thought of taking up the trombone, but was unable to afford one...

, whom she had met while on tour with Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer dubbed "the sound of surprise".Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz...

's band a year earlier. Together they adopted
Adoption
Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents...

 a child born to Fitzgerald's half-sister, Frances, whom they christened Ray Brown, Jr.
Ray Brown, Jr.
Ray Brown, Jr. is an American jazz and blues pianist and singer.The adopted son of Ray Brown and Ella Fitzgerald, he was born in New York City, New York to Fitzgerald's half-sister Frances...

  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
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

 reported that Fitzgerald had secretly married Thor Einar Larsen, a young Norwegian
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, in Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

. 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
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 for stealing money from a young woman to whom he had previously been engaged.

Fitzgerald was also notoriously shy. Trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

 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
Society of Singers
Society of Singers, known appropriately as "SOS" is the only nonprofit 5013 charitable organization devoted exclusively to helping professional singers.-Foundation:...

 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
Amputation
Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

 in 1993. In 1996 she died of the disease in Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills is an affluent city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. With a population of 34,109 at the 2010 census, up from 33,784 as of the 2000 census, it is home to numerous Hollywood celebrities. Beverly Hills and the neighboring city of West Hollywood are together...

 at the age of 79. She is buried in the Inglewood Park Cemetery
Inglewood Park Cemetery
Inglewood Park Cemetery was founded in 1905 in Inglewood, California. A number of notable people, including entertainment and sports personalities, have been interred or entombed here.-List of notable and celebrity interments at Inglewood Park:...

 in Inglewood, California
Inglewood, California
Inglewood is a city in southwestern Los Angeles County, California, southwest of downtown Los Angeles. It was incorporated on February 14, 1908. Its population stood at 109,673 as of the 2010 Census...

. The career history and archival material from Ella's long career are housed in the Archives Center at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History
National Museum of American History
The National Museum of American History: Kenneth E. Behring Center collects, preserves and displays the heritage of the United States in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Among the items on display are the original Star-Spangled Banner and Archie Bunker's...

 while her personal music arrangements are at The Library of Congress. Her extensive cookbook
Cookbook
A cookbook is a kitchen reference that typically contains a collection of recipes. Modern versions may also include colorful illustrations and advice on purchasing quality ingredients or making substitutions...

 collection was donated to the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 while her published sheet music collection is at the Schoenberg Library at UCLA.

Big-band singing


In January 1935, Fitzgerald won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw
Tiny Bradshaw
Myron C. Bradshaw was an American jazz and rhythm and blues bandleader, singer, composer, pianist, and drummer from Youngstown, Ohio.-Early years:...

 band at the Harlem Opera House. She met drummer and bandleader Chick Webb
Chick Webb
William Henry Webb, usually known as Chick Webb was an American jazz and swing music drummer as well as a band leader.-Biography:...

 here. Webb had already hired singer Charlie Linton to work with the band and was, The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 later wrote, "reluctant to sign her....because she was gawky and unkempt, a diamond in the rough." Webb offered her the opportunity to test with his band when they played a dance at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

.

She began singing regularly with Webb's Orchestra through 1935 at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom
Savoy Ballroom
The Savoy Ballroom, located in Harlem, New York City, was a medium sized ballroom for music and public dancing that was in operation from March 12, 1926 to July 10, 1958. It was located between 140th and 141st Streets on Lenox Avenue....

. Fitzgerald recorded several hit songs with them, including "Love and Kisses" and "(If You Can't Sing It) You'll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)
(If You Can't Sing It) You'll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)
" You'll Have to Swing It " is a song written by Sam Coslow that is strongly associated with Ella Fitzgerald....

". But it was her 1938 version of the nursery rhyme
Nursery rhyme
The term nursery rhyme is used for "traditional" poems for young children in Britain and many other countries, but usage only dates from the 19th century and in North America the older ‘Mother Goose Rhymes’ is still often used.-Lullabies:...

, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket
A-Tisket, A-Tasket
A Tisket A Tasket is a nursery rhyme first recorded in America in the late nineteenth century. It was used as the basis for a very successful and highly regarded 1938 recording by Ella Fitzgerald...

", a song she co-wrote, that brought her wide public acclaim.

Chick Webb died on June 16, 1939, and his band was renamed "Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra" with Ella taking on the role of nominal bandleader. Fitzgerald recorded nearly 150 sides with the orchestra before it broke up in 1942, "the majority of them novelties and disposable pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 fluff".

The Decca years



In 1942, Fitzgerald left the band to begin a solo career. Now signed to the Decca
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

 label, she had several popular hits while recording with such artists as the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan
Louis Jordan
Louis Thomas Jordan was a pioneering American jazz, blues and rhythm & blues musician, songwriter and bandleader who enjoyed his greatest popularity from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the Jukebox", Jordan was highly popular with both black and white audiences in the...

, and the Delta Rhythm Boys.

With Decca's Milt Gabler
Milt Gabler
Milton Gabler was an American record producer, responsible for many innovations in the recording industry of the 20th century.-Early life:...

 as her manager, she began working regularly for the jazz impresario Norman Granz
Norman Granz
Norman Granz was an American jazz music impresario and producer.Granz was a fundamental figure in American jazz, especially from about 1947 to 1960...

, and appeared regularly in his Jazz at the Philharmonic
Jazz at the Philharmonic
Jazz at the Philharmonic, or JATP, was the title of a series of jazz concerts, tours and recordings produced by Norman Granz....

 (JATP) concerts. Fitzgerald's relationship with Granz was further cemented when he became her manager, although it would be nearly a decade before he could record her on one of his many record labels.

With the demise of the Swing era
Swing Era
The Swing era was the period of time when big band swing music was the most popular music in the United States. Though the music had been around since the late 1920s and early 1930s, being played by black bands led by such artists as Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Benny Moten, Ella Fitzgerald,...

 and the decline of the great touring big bands, a major change in jazz music occurred. The advent of bebop
Bebop
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers...

 led to new developments in Fitzgerald's vocal style, influenced by her work with Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer dubbed "the sound of surprise".Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz...

's big band. It was in this period that Fitzgerald started including scat singing
Scat singing
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice.- Structure and syllable choice...

 as a major part of her performance repertoire. While singing with Gillespie, Fitzgerald recalled, "I just tried to do [with my voice] what I heard the horns in the band doing."

Her 1945 scat recording of Flying Home
Flying Home
"Flying Home" is a 32-bar AABA jazz composition most often associated with Lionel Hampton, written by Benny Goodman, Eddie DeLange, and Hampton....

 (arranged by Vic Schoen
Vic Schoen
Victor "Vic" Schoen was an American bandleader, arranger, and composer whose career spanned from the 1930s until his death in 2000...

) would later be described by The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 as "one of the most influential vocal jazz records of the decade....Where other singers, most notably Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong , nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana....

, had tried similar improvisation, no one before Miss Fitzgerald employed the technique with such dazzling inventiveness." Her bebop recording of "Oh, Lady be Good!
Oh, Lady be Good!
"Oh, Lady be Good!" is a 1924 song by George and Ira Gershwin.The song was introduced by Walter Catlett in the Broadway show, Lady, Be Good!, written by Guy Bolton, Fred Thompson, and the Gershwin brothers, starring Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire. It ran for 330 performances in its original...

" (1947) was similarly popular and increased her reputation as one of the leading jazz vocalists.

Perhaps responding to criticism and under pressure from Granz, who felt that Fitzgerald was given unsuitable material to record during this period, her last years on the Decca label saw Fitzgerald recording a series of duets with pianist Ellis Larkins
Ellis Larkins
Ellis Larkins was an African-American jazz pianist born in Baltimore, Maryland, perhaps best known for his two recordings with Ella Fitzgerald, the albums Ella Sings Gershwin and Songs in a Mellow Mood .Larkins was the first African American to attend the Peabody Conservatory of Music, a...

, released in 1950 as Ella Sings Gershwin.

Move to Verve and mainstream success


Fitzgerald was still performing at Granz's JATP concerts by 1955. Fitzgerald left Decca and Granz, now her manager, created Verve Records
Verve Records
Verve Records is an American jazz record label now owned by Universal Music Group. It was founded by Norman Granz in 1956, absorbing the catalogues of his earlier labels, Clef Records and Norgran Records , and material which had been licensed to Mercury previously.-Jazz and folk origins:The Verve...

 around her.

Fitzgerald later described the period as strategically crucial, saying, "I had gotten to the point where I was only singing be-bop. I thought be-bop was 'it,' and that all I had to do was go some place and sing bop. But it finally got to the point where I had no place to sing. I realized then that there was more to music than bop. Norman....felt that I should do other things, so he produced The Cole Porter Songbook
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook is a 1956 album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by a studio orchestra conducted and arranged by Buddy Bregman, focusing on the songs of Cole Porter....

 with me. It was a turning point in my life."

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook is a 1956 album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by a studio orchestra conducted and arranged by Buddy Bregman, focusing on the songs of Cole Porter....

, released in 1956, was the first of eight multi-album Songbook sets Fitzgerald would record for Verve at irregular intervals from 1956 to 1964. The composers and lyricists spotlighted on each set, taken together, represent the greatest part of the cultural canon
Canon (fiction)
In the context of a work of fiction, the term canon denotes the material accepted as "official" in a fictional universe's fan base. It is often contrasted with, or used as the basis for, works of fan fiction, which are not considered canonical...

 known as the Great American Songbook
Great American Songbook
The Great American Songbook is a hypothetical construct that seeks to represent the best American songs of the 20th century principally from Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musicals, from the 1920s to 1960, including dozens of songs of enduring popularity...

. Fitzgerald's song selections ranged from standards to rarities and represented an attempt by Fitzgerald to cross over into a non-jazz audience.

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Song book is a 1957 album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Duke Ellington orchestra, focusing on Ellington's songs....

 was the only Songbook on which the composer she interpreted played with her. Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

 and his longtime collaborator Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
William Thomas "Billy" Strayhorn was an American composer, pianist and arranger, best known for his successful collaboration with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington lasting nearly three decades. His compositions include "Chelsea Bridge", "Take the "A" Train" and "Lush Life".-Early...

 both appeared on exactly half the set's 38 tracks and wrote two new pieces of music for the album: "The E and D Blues" and a four-movement musical portrait of Fitzgerald (the only Songbook track on which Fitzgerald does not sing).

The Songbook series ended up becoming the singer's most critically acclaimed and commercially successful work, and probably her most significant offering to American culture. The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 wrote in 1996, "These albums were among the first pop records to devote such serious attention to individual songwriters, and they were instrumental in establishing the pop album as a vehicle for serious musical exploration."

A few days after Fitzgerald's death, New York Times columnist Frank Rich
Frank Rich
Frank Rich is an American essayist and op-ed columnist who wrote for The New York Times from 1980, when he was appointed its chief theatre critic, until 2011...

 wrote that in the Songbook series Fitzgerald "performed a cultural transaction as extraordinary as Elvis
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

's contemporaneous integration of white and African-American soul. Here was a black woman popularizing urban songs often written by immigrant Jews to a national audience of predominantly white Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s." Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

 was moved out of respect for Fitzgerald to block Capitol Records
Capitol Records
Capitol Records is a major United States based record label, formerly located in Los Angeles, but operating in New York City as part of Capitol Music Group. Its former headquarters building, the Capitol Tower, is a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine...

 from re-releasing his own recordings in a similar, single composer vein.

Ella Fitzgerald also recorded albums exclusively devoted to the songs of Porter and Gershwin in 1972 and 1983; the albums being, respectively, Ella Loves Cole
Ella Loves Cole
Ella Loves Cole is a 1972 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald.This was Fitzgerald's first album of songs dedicated to a single composer since 1964's Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook, and her second collection of songs by Cole Porter, her first being the memorable 1956 album, Ella...

 and Nice Work If You Can Get It
Nice Work If You Can Get It (album)
Nice Work If You Can Get It is a 1983 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the pianist André Previn, and the double bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen....

. A later collection devoted to a single composer was released during her time with Pablo Records
Pablo Records
Pablo Records was a record label founded by Norman Granz in 1972, some ten years after he had sold his jazz labels to MGM Records....

, Ella Abraça Jobim
Ella Abraça Jobim
Ella Abraça Jobim or Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Antonio Carlos Jobim Songbook is a 1981 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald, devoted to the songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim....

, featuring the songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antônio Carlos Jobim
Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim , also known as Tom Jobim , was a Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, and pianist/guitarist. He was a primary force behind the creation of the bossa nova style, and his songs have been performed by many singers and instrumentalists within...

.

While recording the Songbooks and the occasional studio album, Fitzgerald toured 40 to 45 weeks per year in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and internationally, under the tutelage of Norman Granz
Norman Granz
Norman Granz was an American jazz music impresario and producer.Granz was a fundamental figure in American jazz, especially from about 1947 to 1960...

. Granz helped solidify her position as one of the leading live jazz performers.

In the mid-1950s, Fitzgerald became the first African-American to perform at the Mocambo
Mocambo
The Mocambo was a nightclub in West Hollywood, California, at 8588 Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip. It was owned by Charlie Morrison and Felix Young.-History:...

, after Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer, model and showgirl who became a major sex symbol, starring in a number of commercially successful motion pictures during the 1950s....

 had lobbied the owner for the booking. The booking was instrumental in Fitzgerald's career. The incident was turned into a play by Bonnie Greer
Bonnie Greer
Bonnie Greer, OBE is an American-British playwright and critic.-Early life:Greer's father was born to a family of Mississippi sharecroppers. He was stationed in the UK during World War II and took part in the D-Day landings...

 in 2005.

There are several live albums on Verve that are highly regarded by critics. Ella at the Opera House
Ella at the Opera House
At the Opera House is a 1958 live album by Ella Fitzgerald. The album presents a recording of the 1957 Jazz at the Philharmonic Concerts. This series of live jazz concerts was devised by Fitzgerald's manager Norman Granz, they ran from 1944 to 1983. Featured on this occasion, in 1957, are...

 shows a typical JATP set from Fitzgerald. Ella in Rome
Ella in Rome: The Birthday Concert
Ella in Rome: The Birthday Concert is a 1958 album by Ella Fitzgerald, with a jazz trio led by Lou Levy, and also featuring the Oscar Peterson trio.-History:...

 and Twelve Nights In Hollywood
Twelve Nights in Hollywood
Twelve Nights In Hollywood is a 2009 live album by the American jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, recorded at the Crescendo Club in Hollywood, Los Angeles over ten nights in in May 1961, and a subsequent pair of performances in June 1962....

 display her vocal jazz canon. Ella in Berlin
Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife
Ella in Berlin is a live album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. This album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical...

 is still one of her best selling albums; it includes a Grammy-winning performance of "Mack the Knife
Mack the Knife
"Mack the Knife" or "The Ballad of Mack the Knife", originally "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer", is a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama Die Dreigroschenoper, or, as it is known in English, The Threepenny Opera. It premiered in Berlin in 1928 at the...

" in which she forgets the lyrics, but improvises magnificently to compensate.

Voice


As Will Friedwald
Will Friedwald
Will Friedwald is an American author and music critic. He has written for such newspapers as The New York Times, The Village Voice, Newsday, The New York Observer, and The New York Sun, and for such magazines as Entertainment Weekly, Oxford American, New York, Mojo, BBC Music Magazine, Stereo...

 noted,
Unlike any other singer you could name, Fitzgerald has the most amazing asset in the very sound of her voice: it's easily one of the most beautiful and sonically perfect sounds known to man. Even if she couldn't do anything with it, the instrument that Fitzgerald starts with is dulcet and pure and breathtakingly beautiful. As Henry Pleasants
Henry Pleasants (music critic)
Henry Pleasants was an American music critic and intelligence officer. Born on May 12, 1910, in Wayne, Pennsylvania, Pleasants studied voice, piano and composition at the Curtis Institute of Music, from which he received an honorary doctorate in 1977...

 has observed, she has a wider range than most opera singers, and many of the latter, including Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is a retired German lyric baritone and conductor of classical music, one of the most famous lieder performers of the post-war period and "one of the supreme vocal artists of the 20th century"...

, are among her biggest fans. And the intonation that goes with the voice is, to put it conservatively, God-like. Fitzgerald simply exists in tune, and she hits every note that there is without the slightest trace of effort. Other singers tend to sound like they're trying to reach up to a note - Fitzgerald always sounds like she's already there. If anything, she's descending from her heavenly perch and swooping down to whatever pitch she wants.


Henry Pleasants
Henry Pleasants (music critic)
Henry Pleasants was an American music critic and intelligence officer. Born on May 12, 1910, in Wayne, Pennsylvania, Pleasants studied voice, piano and composition at the Curtis Institute of Music, from which he received an honorary doctorate in 1977...

, an American classical-music critic, wrote this about her:
She has a lovely voice, one of the warmest and most radiant in its natural range that I have heard in a lifetime of listening to singers in every category. She has an impeccable and ultimately sophisticated rhythmic sense, and flawless intonation. Her harmonic sensibility is extraordinary. She is endlessly inventive.. . it is not so much what she does, or even the way she does it, it's what she does not do. What she does not do, putting it simply as possible, is anything wrong. There is simply nothing in performance to which one would take exception.. . Everything seems to be just right. One would not want it any other way. Nor can one, for a moment imagine it any other way.

Ella Fitzgerald had an extraordinary vocal range
Vocal range
Vocal range is the measure of the breadth of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Although the study of vocal range has little practical application in terms of speech, it is a topic of study within linguistics, phonetics, and speech and language pathology, particularly in relation to the study...

. A mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano
A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and the contralto singing voices, usually extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above...

 (who sang much lower than most classical contraltos), she had a range of “2 octaves and a sixth from a low D or D flat to a high B flat and possibly higher”.

Later years


Verve Records was sold to MGM in 1963 for $3 million and in 1967 MGM failed to renew Fitzgerald's contract. Over the next five years she flitted between Atlantic
Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records is an American record label best known for its many recordings of rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and jazz...

, Capitol
Capitol Records
Capitol Records is a major United States based record label, formerly located in Los Angeles, but operating in New York City as part of Capitol Music Group. Its former headquarters building, the Capitol Tower, is a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine...

 and Reprise
Reprise Records
Reprise Records is an American record label, founded in 1960 by Frank Sinatra. It is owned by Warner Music Group, and operated through Warner Bros. Records.-Beginnings:...

. Her material at this time represented a departure from her typical jazz repertoire. For Capitol she recorded Brighten the Corner
Brighten the Corner
Brighten the Corner is a 1967 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, debut album on Capitol Records. The album charted at #172 in the Billboard Hot 200 album charts....

, an album of hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s, Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas
Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas
Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas is a 1967 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald. This was her second Christmas album. Unlike her previous Christmas album , this album consisted of only religious Christmas songs. It was her second album for Capitol Records, the album charted at #27 in the Billboard 200...

, an album of traditional Christmas carol
Christmas carol
A Christmas carol is a carol whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas or the winter season in general and which are traditionally sung in the period before Christmas.-History:...

s, Misty Blue
Misty Blue (album)
Misty Blue is a 1968 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, featuring mostly renditions of recent country music hits. The single "I Taught Him Everything He Knows" appeared on Billboard's "Easy Listening" survey.-Track listing:...

, a country and western-influenced album, and 30 by Ella
30 by Ella
30 by Ella is a 1968 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.The album's unusual construction of six medleys of songs were arranged by Benny Carter. This album was Fitzgerald's final recording made for Capitol Records...

, a series of six medleys that fulfilled her obligations for the label.

During this period, she had her last US chart single with a cover of Smokey Robinson
Smokey Robinson
William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. is an American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson is one of the primary figures associated with Motown, second only to the company's founder, Berry Gordy...

's "Get Ready", previously a hit for The Temptations
The Temptations
The Temptations is an American vocal group having achieved fame as one of the most successful acts to record for Motown Records. The group's repertoire has included, at various times during its five-decade career, R&B, doo-wop, funk, disco, soul, and adult contemporary music.Formed in Detroit,...

, and some months later a top-five hit for Rare Earth
Rare Earth (band)
Rare Earth is an American rock band affiliated with Motown's Rare Earth record label , who prospered in 1970-1972. Although not the first white band signed to Motown, Rare Earth was the first big hit-making act signed by Motown that consisted only of white members...

.

The surprise success of the 1972 album Jazz at Santa Monica Civic '72
Jazz at Santa Monica Civic '72
Jazz at Santa Monica '72 is a 1972 live album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by a jazz trio led by the pianist Tommy Flanagan, and the Count Basie Orchestra....

 led Granz to found Pablo Records
Pablo Records
Pablo Records was a record label founded by Norman Granz in 1972, some ten years after he had sold his jazz labels to MGM Records....

, his first record label since the sale of Verve. Fitzgerald recorded some 20 albums for the label. Ella in London
Ella in London
Ella in London is a 1974 live album by Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by a quartet led by the pianist Tommy Flanagan.It is significant as Fitzgerald's only live album recorded in England, although a decade earlier she had recorded four songs for her 1964 album Hello, Dolly! in London...

 recorded live in 1974 with pianist Tommy Flanagan, Joe Pass on guitar, Keter Betts on bass and Bobby Durham on drums was considered by many to be some of her best work. Her years with Pablo Records also documented the decline in her voice. "She frequently used shorter, stabbing phrases, and her voice was harder, with a wider vibrato," one biographer wrote. Plagued by health problems, Fitzgerald made her last recording in 1991 and her last public performances in 1993.

In 1993, Fitzgerald established the Charitable Foundation that bears her name: The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, which continues to help the disadvantaged through monetary grants and donations of new books to at-risk children. More information can be found at the Foundation's website, ellafitzgeraldfoundation.org

Film and television



In her most notable screen role, Fitzgerald played the part of singer Maggie Jackson in Jack Webb
Jack Webb
John Randolph "Jack" Webb , also known by the pseudonym John Randolph, was an American actor, television producer, director and screenwriter, who is most famous for his role as Sergeant Joe Friday in the radio and television series Dragnet...

's 1955 jazz film Pete Kelly's Blues. The film costarred Janet Leigh
Janet Leigh
Janet Leigh , born Jeanette Helen Morrison, was an American actress. She was the wife of actor Tony Curtis from June 1951 to September 1962 and the mother of Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis....

 and singer Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress in a career spanning six decades. From her beginning as a vocalist on local radio to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, she forged a sophisticated persona, evolving into a multi-faceted artist and...

. Even though she had already worked in the movies (she had sung briefly in the 1942 Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
William "Bud" Abbott and Lou Costello performed together as Abbott and Costello, an American comedy duo whose work on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s and 1950s...

 film Ride 'Em Cowboy
Ride 'Em Cowboy
Ride 'Em Cowboy is a 1942 film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello.-Plot:The author of best-selling western novels, Bronco Bob Mitchell , has never set foot in the west. A newspaper article has exposed this fact to his fans, and his image is suffering because of it. He decides to make...

), she was "delighted" when Norman Granz negotiated the role for her, and, "at the time....considered her role in the Warner Brothers movie the biggest thing ever to have happened to her." Amid The New York Times pan of the film when it opened in August 1955, the reviewer wrote, "About five minutes (out of ninety-five) suggest the picture this might have been. Take the ingenious prologue...Or take the fleeting scenes when the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald, allotted a few spoken lines, fills the screen and sound track with her strong mobile features and voice."

Similar to another African-American jazz singer, Lena Horne
Lena Horne
Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was an American singer, actress, civil rights activist and dancer.Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of sixteen and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, where she had small parts in numerous movies, and more substantial parts in the...

, Fitzgerald's race precluded major big-screen success. After Pete Kelly's Blues, she appeared in sporadic movie cameos, in St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Blues (1958 film)
St. Louis Blues is a 1958 film broadly based on the life of W. C. Handy. It starred jazz and blues greats Nat "King" Cole, Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, and Barney Bigard, as well as gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and actress Ruby Dee...

 (1958), and Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960). Much later, she appeared in the 1980s television drama The White Shadow
The White Shadow
The White Shadow is an American drama television series that ran on the CBS network from November 27, 1978, to March 16, 1981.-Overview:...

.

She also made numerous guest appearances on television shows, singing on The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom
The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom
The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom is a half-hour variety show that aired on ABC from October 3, 1957 to June 23, 1960, starring the young singer Pat Boone and a host of top-name guest stars. The program was of course sponsored by Chevrolet...

, The Frank Sinatra Show
The Frank Sinatra Show (ABC)
The Frank Sinatra Show is an ABC variety and drama series, starring Frank Sinatra, premiering on October 18, 1957, and last airing on June 27, 1958.- Summary :...

, and alongside Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole
Nathaniel Adams Coles , known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres...

, Dean Martin
Dean Martin
Dean Martin was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian. Martin's hit singles included "Memories Are Made of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You", "Sway", "Volare" and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?"...

, Mel Tormé
Mel Tormé
Melvin Howard Tormé , nicknamed The Velvet Fog, was an American musician, known for his jazz singing. He was also a jazz composer and arranger, a drummer, an actor in radio, film, and television, and the author of five books...

 and many others. Perhaps her most unusual and intriguing performance was of the 'Three Little Maids' song from Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan . The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S...

's comic operetta
Operetta
Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter. It is also closely related, in English-language works, to forms of musical theatre.-Origins:...

 The Mikado
The Mikado
The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, their ninth of fourteen operatic collaborations...

 alongside Joan Sutherland
Joan Sutherland
Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE was an Australian dramatic coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s....

 and Dinah Shore
Dinah Shore
Dinah Shore was an American singer, actress, and television personality...

 on Shore's weekly variety series in 1963. Fitzgerald also made a one-off appearance alongside Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Lois Vaughan was an American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century."...

 and Pearl Bailey
Pearl Bailey
Pearl Mae Bailey was an American actress and singer. After appearing in vaudeville, she made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman in 1946. She won a Tony Award for the title role in the all-black production of Hello, Dolly! in 1968...

 on a 1979 television special honoring Bailey. In 1980, she performed a medley of standards in a duet with Karen Carpenter on the Carpenters' television program, Music, Music, Music.

Fitzgerald also appeared in TV commercials, her most memorable being an ad for Memorex
Memorex
Memorex began as a computer tape producer and expanded to become a major IBM plug compatible peripheral supplier. It is now a consumer electronics brand of Imation specializing in disk recordable media for CD and DVD drives, flash memory, computer accessories and other electronics.Established in...

. In the commercials, she sang a note that shattered a glass while being recorded on a Memorex cassette tape. The tape was played back and the recording also broke the glass, asking "Is it live, or is it Memorex?" She also starred in a number of commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken, singing and scatting to the fast-food chain's longtime slogan, "We do chicken right!"

Her final commercial campaign was for American Express
American Express
American Express Company or AmEx, is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Three World Financial Center, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Founded in 1850, it is one of the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company is best...

, in which she was photographed by Annie Leibovitz
Annie Leibovitz
Anna-Lou "Annie" Leibovitz is an American portrait photographer.-Early life and education:Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Leibovitz is the third of six children. She is a third-generation American whose great-grandparents were Jewish immigrants, from Central and Eastern Europe. Her father's...

.

Collaborations


Fitzgerald's most famous collaborations were with the trumpeter Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong , nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana....

, the guitarist Joe Pass
Joe Pass
Joe Pass was an Italian-American jazz guitarist of Sicilian descent. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century...

, and the bandleaders Count Basie
Count Basie
William "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. Basie led his jazz orchestra almost continuously for nearly 50 years...

 and Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

.
  • Fitzgerald recorded three Verve studio albums with Armstrong, two albums of standards (1956's Ella and Louis
    Ella and Louis
    Ella and Louis is a 1956 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, accompanied by the Oscar Peterson Quartet. Having previously collaborated in the late 1940s for the Decca label, this was the first of three albums that Fitzgerald and Armstrong were to record together for Verve Records.-...

     and 1957's Ella and Louis Again
    Ella and Louis Again
    Ella and Louis Again is a 1957 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. It is the "sequel" to their 1956 album, Ella and Louis, in contrast to their previous collaboration Ella and Louis, this album does not only feature duets...

    ), and a third album featured music from the Gershwin
    George Gershwin
    George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known...

     musical Porgy and Bess. Fitzgerald also recorded a number of sides with Armstrong for Decca in the early 1950s.
  • Fitzgerald is sometimes referred to as the quintessential swing singer, and her meetings with Count Basie
    Count Basie
    William "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. Basie led his jazz orchestra almost continuously for nearly 50 years...

     are highly regarded by critics. Fitzgerald features on one track on Basie's 1957 album One O'Clock Jump, while her 1963 album Ella and Basie!
    Ella and Basie!
    Ella and Basie! is a 1963 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Count Basie Orchestra, with arrangements by Quincy Jones...

     is remembered as one of her greatest recordings. With the 'New Testament' Basie band in full swing, and arrangements written by a young Quincy Jones
    Quincy Jones
    Quincy Delightt Jones, Jr. is an American record producer and musician. A conductor, musical arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter. His career spans five decades in the entertainment industry and a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend...

    , this album proved a respite from the 'Songbook' recordings and constant touring that Fitzgerald was engaged in during this period. Fitzgerald and Basie also collaborated on the 1972 album Jazz at Santa Monica Civic '72
    Jazz at Santa Monica Civic '72
    Jazz at Santa Monica '72 is a 1972 live album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by a jazz trio led by the pianist Tommy Flanagan, and the Count Basie Orchestra....

    , and on the 1979 albums Digital III at Montreux
    Digital III at Montreux
    Digital III at Montreux is a 1979 live album featuring a compilation of performances by Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Joe Pass, and Ray Brown, recorded at the 1979 Montreux Jazz Festival...

    , A Classy Pair
    A Classy Pair
    The Allmusic review by Scott Yanow awarded the album three stars and said that "Basie's sidemen are unfortunately restricted in the Benny Carter arrangements to backup work but Basie has a few piano solos and Fitzgerald is in good voice and in typically swinging form" -Track listing:-Personnel:*...

     and A Perfect Match.
  • Fitzgerald and Joe Pass
    Joe Pass
    Joe Pass was an Italian-American jazz guitarist of Sicilian descent. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century...

     recorded four albums together toward the end of Fitzgerald's career. She recorded several albums with piano accompaniment, but a guitar proved the perfect melodic foil for her. Fitzgerald and Pass appeared together on the albums Take Love Easy
    Take Love Easy
    Take Love Easy is a 1973 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the guitarist Joe Pass.-History:This album is the first of four studio albums that Ella recorded with Pass, and it was the latest in a long line of duets for Ella with just one other instrument...

     (1973), Easy Living (1986), Speak Love
    Speak Love
    Speak Love is a 1983 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the jazz guitarist Joe Pass....

     (1983) and Fitzgerald and Pass... Again
    Fitzgerald and Pass... Again
    Fitzgerald and Pass...Again is a 1976 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by jazz guitarist Joe Pass, the second of four duet albums they recorded together, after Take Love Easy ....

     (1976).
  • Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington
    Duke Ellington
    Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

     recorded two live albums, and two studio albums. Her Duke Ellington Songbook
    Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook
    Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Song book is a 1957 album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Duke Ellington orchestra, focusing on Ellington's songs....

     placed Ellington firmly in the canon known as the Great American Songbook
    Great American Songbook
    The Great American Songbook is a hypothetical construct that seeks to represent the best American songs of the 20th century principally from Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musicals, from the 1920s to 1960, including dozens of songs of enduring popularity...

    , and the 1960s saw Fitzgerald and the 'Duke' meet on the Côte d'Azur for the 1966 album Ella and Duke at the Cote D'Azur
    Ella and Duke at the Cote D'Azur
    Ella and Duke at the Cote D'Azur is a 1967 live album by Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the big band of Duke Ellington.It was recorded live in Juan-les-Pins, on the French riviera, between June 26 and July 29, 1966....

    , and in Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

     for The Stockholm Concert, 1966
    The Stockholm Concert, 1966
    The Stockholm Concert, 1966 is a 1966 live album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Duke Ellington Orchestra...

    . Their 1965 album Ella at Duke's Place
    Ella at Duke's Place
    Ella at Duke's Place is a 1965 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Duke Ellington Orchestra. It is notable as the second studio album made by Fitzgerald and Ellington.-Track listing:...

     is also extremely well received.


Fitzgerald had a number of famous jazz musicians and soloists
Solo (music)
In music, a solo is a piece or a section of a piece played or sung by a single performer...

 as sidemen over her long career. The trumpeters Roy Eldridge
Roy Eldridge
Roy David Eldridge , nicknamed "Little Jazz" was an American jazz trumpet player. His sophisticated use of harmony, including the use of tritone substitutions, his virtuosic solos and his strong influence on Dizzy Gillespie mark him as one of the most exciting musicians of the swing era and a...

 and Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer dubbed "the sound of surprise".Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz...

, the guitarist Herb Ellis
Herb Ellis
Mitchell Herbert "Herb" Ellis was an American jazz guitarist. Perhaps best known for his 1950s membership in the trio of pianist Oscar Peterson, Ellis was also a staple of west-coast studio recording sessions, and was described by critic Scott Yanow as "an excellent bop-based guitarist with a...

, and the pianists Tommy Flanagan, Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Emmanuel Peterson was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the "Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, "O.P." by his friends. He released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career...

, Lou Levy
Lou Levy (pianist)
Louis A. Levy , generally known as Lou Levy, was a bebop-based pianist who worked with many top jazz artists, later coming to embrace the cool jazz medium and playing in that style as well .Levy was born to Jewish parents in Chicago and started playing piano when he was 12...

, Paul Smith
Paul Smith (pianist)
Paul Smith , is a jazz pianist. He has performed in various genres of jazz, most typically bebop. However, he has also performed in cool jazz, swing music, and traditional pop.He was born in San Diego, California...

, Jimmy Rowles
Jimmy Rowles
Jimmy Rowles was an American jazz pianist who was best known as an accompanist. He also released a number of albums under his own name, and explored various idioms including swing and cool jazz. - Biography :Born in Spokane, Washington, Rowles studied at Gonzaga College in Spokane, Washington...

, and Ellis Larkins
Ellis Larkins
Ellis Larkins was an African-American jazz pianist born in Baltimore, Maryland, perhaps best known for his two recordings with Ella Fitzgerald, the albums Ella Sings Gershwin and Songs in a Mellow Mood .Larkins was the first African American to attend the Peabody Conservatory of Music, a...

 all worked with Ella mostly in live, small group settings.

Possibly Fitzgerald's greatest unrealized collaboration (in terms of popular music) was a studio or live album with Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

. The two appeared on the same stage only periodically over the years, in television specials in 1958 and 1959, and again on 1967's A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim
A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim
A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim was a 1967 television special starring Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Antonio Carlos Jobim, accompanied by the orchestras of Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins...

, a show that also featured Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antônio Carlos Jobim
Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim , also known as Tom Jobim , was a Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, and pianist/guitarist. He was a primary force behind the creation of the bossa nova style, and his songs have been performed by many singers and instrumentalists within...

. Pianist Paul Smith has said, "Ella loved working with [Frank]. Sinatra gave her his dressing room on A Man and His Music and couldn’t do enough for her." When asked, Norman Granz would cite "complex contractual reasons" for the fact that the two artists never recorded together. Fitzgerald's appearance with Sinatra and Count Basie in June 1974 for a series of concerts at Caesar's Palace
Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace is a luxury hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, an unincorporated township in Clark County, Nevada, United States in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Caesars Palace is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corp....

, Las Vegas
Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is an approximately stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada; adjacent to, but outside the city limits of Las Vegas proper. The Strip lies within the unincorporated townships of Paradise and Winchester...

 was seen as an important incentive for Sinatra to return from his self-imposed retirement of the early 1970s. The shows were a great success, and September 1975 saw them gross $1,000,000 in two weeks on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

, in a triumvirate with the Count Basie Orchestra.

Awards, citations and honors


Fitzgerald won thirteen Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...

 in 1967. Other major awards and honors she received during her career were the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Medal of Honor Award
Kennedy Center Honors
The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. The Honors have been presented annually since 1978 in Washington, D.C., during gala weekend-long events which culminate in a performance for—and...

, National Medal of Art
National Medal of Arts
The National Medal of Arts is an award and title created by the United States Congress in 1984, for the purpose of honoring artists and patrons of the arts. It is the highest honor conferred to an individual artist on behalf of the people. Honorees are selected by the National Endowment for the...

, first Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award
Society of Singers
Society of Singers, known appropriately as "SOS" is the only nonprofit 5013 charitable organization devoted exclusively to helping professional singers.-Foundation:...

, named "Ella" in her honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, and the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, UCLA Spring Sing
UCLA Spring Sing
Spring Sing is UCLA's oldest and greatest musical tradition, an annual music competition held in May at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. The competition brings together UCLA students to perform as solo artists, duets, bands, and a cappella groups in front of an audience of over 7,000 UCLA students, alumni,...

. Across town at the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

, Ella received the coveted USC "Magnum Opus" Award which graces the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation's office.
(www.ellafitzgeraldfoundation.org)

Ella Fitzgerald was a quiet but ardent supporter of many charities and non-profit organizations, including the American Heart Association
American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a non-profit organization in the United States that fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. It is headquartered in Dallas, Texas...

 and the United Negro College Fund
United Negro College Fund
The United Negro College Fund is an American philanthropic organization that fundraises college tuition money for black students and general scholarship funds for 39 private historically black colleges and universities. The UNCF was incorporated on April 25, 1944 by Frederick D. Patterson , Mary...

. In 1993, she established the "Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation" which continues to fund programs that perpetuate Ella's ideals.

Tributes


In 1997, Newport News, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Newport News is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia. It is at the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, on the north shore of the James River extending southeast from Skiffe's Creek along many miles of waterfront to the river's mouth at Newport News...

 created a music festival with Christopher Newport University
Christopher Newport University
Christopher Newport University, or CNU, is a public liberal arts university located in Newport News, Virginia, United States. CNU is the youngest comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia...

 to honor Ella Fitzgerald in her birth city. The Ella Fitzgerald Music Festival is designed to teach the region's youth of the musical legacy of Fitzgerald and jazz. Past performers at the week-long festival include: Diana Krall
Diana Krall
Diana Jean Krall, OC, OBC is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals. She has sold more than 6 million albums in the US and over 15 million worldwide; altogether, she has sold more albums than any other female jazz artist during the 1990s and 2000s...

, Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval is a jazz trumpeter and pianist. He was born in Artemisa, in the newest renamed Artemisa Province, Cuba....

, Jean Carne
Jean Carne
Jean Carn is an American jazz and pop singer known for her unique vocalising and her impressive interpretative and improvisational skills...

, Phil Woods
Phil Woods
Philip Wells Woods is an American jazz bebop alto saxophonist, clarinetist, bandleader and composer.-Biography:...

, Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All...

, Freda Payne
Freda Payne
Freda Charcilia Payne Some sources give a birth year of 1945, but this appears to be an error as all sources agree that she is older than her sister Scherrie, born 1944. is an American singer and actress best known for her million selling, 1970 hit single, "Band of Gold". She was also an actress in...

, Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson is an American jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer from Jackson, Mississippi. Described by critic Gary Giddins as "a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack [who has] expanded the playing field" by incorporating country, blues and folk music into her...

, Ethel Ennis
Ethel Ennis
Ethel Llewellyn Ennis is an American jazz musician. Ethel Ennis began performing on the piano in high school, but her natural vocal abilities soon eclipsed those as a pianist...

, David Sanborn
David Sanborn
David Sanborn is an American alto saxophonist. Though Sanborn has worked in many genres, his solo recordings typically blend jazz with instrumental pop and R&B. He released his first solo album Taking Off in 1975, but has been playing the saxophone since before he was in high school...

, Jane Monheit
Jane Monheit
Jane Monheit is a jazz and adult contemporary vocalist for Concord Records. She has collaborated with artists such as Michael Bublé, Ivan Lins, Terence Blanchard and Tom Harrell, and has received Grammy nominations for two of her recordings.-Early life:Jane Monheit was raised in Oakdale, New York...

, Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves is an American jazz singer. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.-Early life:Reeves was born in Detroit, Michigan to a very musical family. Her father, who died when she was two years old, was also a singer. Her mother, Vada Swanson, played trumpet. A cousin, George Duke, is a...

, Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater is an American Jazz singer. She is a three-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, as well as a Tony Award - winning stage actress and host of National Public Radio's syndicated radio show JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater...

, Ramsey Lewis
Ramsey Lewis
Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr. is an American jazz composer, pianist and radio personality. Ramsey Lewis has recorded over 80 albums and has received seven gold records and three Grammy Awards so far in his career.-Biography:...

, Patti Austin
Patti Austin
-Life and career:Austin was born in Harlem, New York. She made her debut at the Apollo Theater at age four and had a contract with RCA Records when she was only five. Quincy Jones and Dinah Washington have proclaimed themselves as her godparents....

, and Ann Hampton Callaway
Ann Hampton Callaway
Ann Hampton Callaway is a multiplatinum-selling singer, composer, lyricist, pianist, and actress. She is best known for writing and singing the theme to the TV series The Nanny, writing songs for Barbra Streisand and starring in the Broadway musical Swing!.-Career:Callaway was described by the New...



Ann Hampton Callaway
Ann Hampton Callaway
Ann Hampton Callaway is a multiplatinum-selling singer, composer, lyricist, pianist, and actress. She is best known for writing and singing the theme to the TV series The Nanny, writing songs for Barbra Streisand and starring in the Broadway musical Swing!.-Career:Callaway was described by the New...

, Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater is an American Jazz singer. She is a three-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, as well as a Tony Award - winning stage actress and host of National Public Radio's syndicated radio show JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater...

, and Patti Austin
Patti Austin
-Life and career:Austin was born in Harlem, New York. She made her debut at the Apollo Theater at age four and had a contract with RCA Records when she was only five. Quincy Jones and Dinah Washington have proclaimed themselves as her godparents....

 have all recorded albums in tribute to Fitzgerald. Callaway's album To Ella with Love (1996) features fourteen jazz standards made popular by Fitzgerald, and the album also features the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Learson Marsalis is a trumpeter, composer, bandleader, music educator, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis has promoted the appreciation of classical and jazz music often to young audiences...

. Bridgewater's album Dear Ella
Dear Ella
Dear Ella is a 1997 studio album by Dee Dee Bridgewater, recorded in tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, who had died the previous year.For Dear Ella, Bridgewater won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album and Slide Hampton won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist...

 (1997) featured many musicians that were closely associated with Fitzgerald during her career, including the pianist Lou Levy
Lou Levy (pianist)
Louis A. Levy , generally known as Lou Levy, was a bebop-based pianist who worked with many top jazz artists, later coming to embrace the cool jazz medium and playing in that style as well .Levy was born to Jewish parents in Chicago and started playing piano when he was 12...

, the trumpeter Benny Powell, and Fitzgerald's second husband, the double bassist Ray Brown. Bridgewater's following album, Live at Yoshi's, was recorded live on April 25, 1998, what would have been Fitzgerald's 81st birthday. Patti Austin's album, For Ella (2002) features 11 songs most immediately associated with Fitzgerald, and a twelfth song, "Hearing Ella Sing" is Austin's tribute to Fitzgerald. The album was nominated for a Grammy.
In 2007 We All Love Ella
We All Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song
We All Love Ella: Celebrating The First Lady Of Song is a 2007 tribute album to Ella Fitzgerald, released to mark the 90th anniversary of her birth.-Track listing:#"A-Tisket, A-Tasket"...

, was released, a tribute album recorded for the 90th anniversary of Fitzgerald's birth. It featured artists such as Michael Bublé
Michael Bublé
Michael Steven Bublé is a Canadian singer. He has won several awards, including three Grammy Awards and multiple Juno Awards. His first album reached the top ten in Canada and the UK. He found worldwide commercial success with his 2005 album It's Time, and his 2007 album Call Me Irresponsible was...

, Natalie Cole
Natalie Cole
Natalie Maria Cole , is an American singer, songwriter and performer. The daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole, Cole rode to musical success in the mid-1970s as an R&B artist with the hits "This Will Be ", "Inseparable" and "Our Love"...

, Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan , frequently known as the Queen of Funk, is a 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter who gained fame in the 1970s as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus. While still a member of the group in 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career...

, Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight
Gladys Maria Knight , known as the "Empress of Soul", is an American singer-songwriter, actress, businesswoman, humanitarian, and author...

, Diana Krall
Diana Krall
Diana Jean Krall, OC, OBC is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals. She has sold more than 6 million albums in the US and over 15 million worldwide; altogether, she has sold more albums than any other female jazz artist during the 1990s and 2000s...

, k.d. lang
K.D. Lang
Kathryn Dawn Lang, OC , known by her stage name k.d. lang, is a Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and occasional actress...

, Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah
Dana Elaine Owens , better known by her stage name Queen Latifah, is an American singer, rapper, and actress. Her work in music, film and television has earned her a Golden Globe award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards, a Grammy Award, six additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy...

, Ledisi
Ledisi
Ledisi Anibade Young is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Her first name means "to bring forth" or "to come here" in Yoruba. Ledisi is known for her jazz influenced vocals. In 1995, Ledisi formed the group known as Anibade. After unsuccessfully trying to get the group signed to a major...

, Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves is an American jazz singer. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.-Early life:Reeves was born in Detroit, Michigan to a very musical family. Her father, who died when she was two years old, was also a singer. Her mother, Vada Swanson, played trumpet. A cousin, George Duke, is a...

, Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt is an American popular music recording artist. She has earned eleven Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums, in addition to Tony Award and Golden...

, and Lizz Wright
Lizz Wright
Lizz Wright is an American jazz/R&B singer and composer.Wright was born in the small town of Hahira in the US state of Georgia; one of three children and the daughter of a minister and the musical director of their Church. She started singing gospel music and playing piano in church as a child,...

, collating songs most readily associated with the "First Lady of Song".

The folk singer Odetta
Odetta
Odetta Holmes, known as Odetta, was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement". Her musical repertoire consisted largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals...

's album To Ella
To Ella
To Ella is an album by American folk singer Odetta, released 1998 on Silverwolf Records. Recorded live at the Kerrville Folk Festival, it features traditional songs including "Amazing Grace" and a 27-minute "Ancestors Suite" containing several songs....

 (1998) is dedicated to Fitzgerald, but features no songs associated with her. Fitzgerald's long serving accompanist Tommy Flanagan affectionately remembered Fitzgerald on his album Lady be Good...For Ella (1994).

Fitzgerald is also referred to on the 1987 song "Ella, elle l'a
Ella, elle l'a
"Ella, elle l'a" is a single released by France Gall. It was released as a single from her album Babacar, on 24 August 1987, and became a hit in Europe....

" by French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 singer France Gall
France Gall
France Gall is a popular French yé-yé singer.Gall was married to, and had a successful singing career in partnership with, French singer-songwriter Michel Berger....

 and the Belgian singer Kate Ryan
Kate Ryan
Kate Ryan is a Belgian World Music Award winner. She began her singing career in 2001 and later found fame with a string of dance hits. These included covers, mostly of Mylène Farmer and France Gall, such as "Désenchantée", "Libertine" and "Ella, elle l'a" as well as new material...

, the 1976 Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris , better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist...

 hit "Sir Duke
Sir Duke
"Sir Duke" is a song composed and performed by Stevie Wonder, from his 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. Released as a single in 1977, the track topped the U.S...

" from his album Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life is the 13th album by American recording artist Stevie Wonder, released September 28, 1976, on Motown Records. It was the culmination of his "classic period" albums. An ambitious double LP with a 4-song bonus EP, Songs in the Key of Life became among the best-selling and...

, and the song "I Love Being Here With You", written by Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress in a career spanning six decades. From her beginning as a vocalist on local radio to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, she forged a sophisticated persona, evolving into a multi-faceted artist and...

 and Bill Schluger. Sinatra's 1986 recording of "Mack the Knife
Mack the Knife
"Mack the Knife" or "The Ballad of Mack the Knife", originally "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer", is a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama Die Dreigroschenoper, or, as it is known in English, The Threepenny Opera. It premiered in Berlin in 1928 at the...

" from his album L.A. Is My Lady
L.A. Is My Lady
L.A. Is My Lady is a 1984 studio album by Frank Sinatra, featuring arrangements by Quincy Jones. It was the last solo album that Sinatra recorded, though Sinatra recorded three further songs, which were unreleased until The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings.The album came after an album of duets...

 (1984) includes a homage to some of the song's previous performers, including 'Lady Ella' herself. She is also honored in the song "First Lady" by Canadian artist Nikki Yanofsky
Nikki Yanofsky
Nicole "Nikki" Yanofsky is a Canadian jazz-pop singer from Hampstead, Quebec. She is involved in charitable causes, and released her first studio album on her own label, A440 Entertainment, and on Decca Records outside of Canada. Yanofsky sang Canada's national anthem at the opening ceremonies of...

.

In 2008, the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News named its brand new 276-seat theater the Ella Fitzgerald Theater. The theater is located several blocks away from her birthplace on Marshall Avenue. The Grand Opening performers (October 11 & 12, 2008) were Roberta Flack
Roberta Flack
Roberta Flack is an American singer, songwriter, and musician who is notable for jazz, soul, R&B, and folk music...

 and Queen Esther Marrow
Queen Esther Marrow
-Biography:Queen Esther Marrow was born in Newport News, Virginia. She began her career at the age of 22 when her talent and vocal gifts were discovered by Duke Ellington and made her debut as a featured artist in his "Sacred Concert" world tour. Marrow and Ellington formed a long life friendship...

.

USPS stamp and Yonkers statue


There is a statue of Fitzgerald in Yonkers, the city in which she grew up. It is located southeast of the main entrance to the Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

/Metro-North Railroad
Metro-North Railroad
The Metro-North Commuter Railroad , trading as MTA Metro-North Railroad, or, more commonly, Metro-North, is a suburban commuter rail service that is run and managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority , an authority of New York State. It is the busiest commuter railroad in the United...

 station. A beautiful bust of Ella is on the campus of Chapman College in Orange, California. On January 10, 2007, the United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

 announced that Fitzgerald would be honored with her own 39-cent postage stamp. The stamp was released in April 2007 as part of the Postal Service's Black Heritage series.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes and awards
1942 Ride 'Em Cowboy
Ride 'Em Cowboy
Ride 'Em Cowboy is a 1942 film starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello.-Plot:The author of best-selling western novels, Bronco Bob Mitchell , has never set foot in the west. A newspaper article has exposed this fact to his fans, and his image is suffering because of it. He decides to make...

Ruby
1955 Pete Kelly's Blues Maggie Jackson
1958 St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Blues (1958 film)
St. Louis Blues is a 1958 film broadly based on the life of W. C. Handy. It starred jazz and blues greats Nat "King" Cole, Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, and Barney Bigard, as well as gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and actress Ruby Dee...

Singer
1960 Let No Man Write My Epitaph Flora

Further reading

  • Nicholson, Stuart. (1996) Ella Fitzgerald. Gollancz. ISBN 0-575-40032-3
  • Gourse, Leslie. (1998) The Ella Fitzgerald Companion: Seven Decades of Commentary. Music Sales Ltd. ISBN 0-02-864625-8
  • Johnson, J. Wilfred. (2001) Ella Fitzgerald: A Complete Annotated Discography. McFarland & Co Inc. ISBN 0-7864-0906-1

External links