[JPL] Ella Fitzgerald

Tom Reney tr at wfcr.org
Wed Apr 27 07:51:06 EDT 2005

Hey Ron:
Thanks for your appreciation of Ella, and that vivid description of her 
Symphony Hall appearance.  I went back to one of my Ella desert island 
discs, Pure Ella, in my tribute last night.  I don't know why Granz never 
recorded her with Ellis Larkins, for the two sessions they made for Decca in 
1950 and '54 are sublime.
Tom Reney

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <RGill7344 at aol.com>
To: <jazzproglist at yellowdog.com>
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2005 8:14 AM
Subject: [JPL] Ella Fitzgerald

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> Ella Fitzgerald
> By Ron Gill
> I was six years old when Ella Fitzgerald was already
> an established female vocalist in the minds of the
> listening public. At that age, I had already
> established my love for the art of song, be it jazz,
> popular , theatre or
> what I was hearing in the movies that I attended with
> my wonderful aunt who introduced me to this music by
> listening to recordings or taking me to hear these
> people in person at the Apollo, Paramount Theatres and
> the like. What an experience.
> So I watched Ella grow as an artist. From her Decca
> recordings to the 1950's songbook phase that
> established her more deeply in the minds of her
> listeners. What a joy.
> Her recordings with the Ink Spots who were very
> popular then as well, Louis Jordan, Mills Brothers
> and Louis Armstrong. Ella had it all. She had a
> wonderfully clear voice, great intonation, and the
> ability to make you feel comfortable listening to her.
> Her sweetness came through as well, as we have
> learned through biographies of the kind of person she
> was. Her
> sensitivity showed in her work as well, and it's no
> doubt by the way she
> sang her songs she found comfort in the words she
> sang.
> Listening to her work on Decca Records which was an
> established recording company with a large roster of
> great stars, Ella stood tall. Singers who wanted to
> challenge her status were unable to keep up. Her
> talent was so immense. With Ella you could go just
> about anywhere on the popular and jazz spectrum. She
> already had established herself when it came to the
> art of the popular song. I venture to say that Ella
> was almost singlehandedly responsible for giving the
> American public an opportunity to learn and appreciate
> popular songs. Look at the list of songs she recorded
> and made classics when recording for Decca in the
> forties; Flying Home, That old Black Magic, Stairway
> To The Stars, Goody, Goody, Lullaby Of Birdland, just
> to name a very few. I also believe she helped the
> boppers, Dizzy and Parker, in their quest to become
> established. What more would you need than to have
> Ella on jazz concerts trading fours with the likes of
> Diz and the rest on things like Flying Home, or How
> High The Moon? Talk about classic. Talk about the
> ability to swing. Ella did that, and the audiences
> loved it. While those recordings were popular, you
> had to visit Ella in person when she did it.
> I remember a concert in the fifties at Symphony Hall,
> with the Oscar Peterson Trio, produced by Norman
> Granz. Ella strolled on stage, lights dimmed, the
> musician's music stands lit with only small pin lights
> over the music, and she opened with a warm and
> delightful version of 'You Belong To Me', and
> everybody's version of that song was diminished in
> your mind as she wrapped her tonsils around that song.
> Talk about feeling you were in your living room. Ella
> could do that.
> When she became ensconced with Norman Granz and Verve,
> his development of Ella and what followed had to be a
> singer's dream. But, who else could do what Ella did?
> No matter who we think of today who tried it were
> unable to capture what she did. Her songbooks were
> unmatchable. Depending on the composer, Ella captured
> every nuance of their music and with respect. Not only
> the finest composers, but the best
> arrangers. How lucky for us , because without those
> songs, those composers, and Ella, we would have
> missed the greatest of joys in music and the Great
> America Songbook.
> The greatest joy for me is having the opportunity to
> share this music on recordings available to me. Each
> year, in celebration of their birthdays, I revisit
> Ella, along with the greatest composer of the last
> Century, Duke Ellington, on my Jazz Gallery Program on
> WGBH, 89.7, in Boston, http://www.wgbh.org.
> The playlist for this prgram can be found here.@
> www.wgbh.org.
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