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Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

"The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the finest female jazz singer of all time (although some may vote for Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday). Blessed with a beautiful voice and a wide range, Fitzgerald could outswing anyone, was a brilliant scat singer, and had near-perfect elocution; one could always understand the words she sang. The one fault was that, since she always sounded so happy to be singing, Fitzgerald did not always dig below the surface of the lyrics she interpreted and she even made a downbeat song such as "Love for Sale" sound joyous. However, when one evaluates her career on a whole, there is simply no one else in her class.

One could never guess from her singing that Ella Fitzgerald's early days were as grim as Billie Holiday's. Growing up in poverty, Fitzgerald was literally homeless for the year before she got her big break. In 1934, she appeared at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, winning an amateur contest by singing "Judy" in the style of her idol, Connee Boswell. After a short stint with Tiny Bradshaw, Fitzgerald was brought to the attention of Chick Webb by Benny Carter (who was in the audience at the Apollo). Webb, who was not impressed by the 17-year-old's appearance, was reluctantly persuaded to let her sing with his orchestra on a one-nighter. She went over well and soon the drummer recognized her commercial potential. Starting in 1935, Fitzgerald began recording with Webb's Orchestra, and by 1937 over half of the band's selections featured her voice. "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" became a huge hit in 1938 and "Undecided" soon followed. During this era, Fitzgerald was essentially a pop/swing singer who was best on ballads while her medium-tempo performances were generally juvenile novelties. She already had a beautiful voice but did not improvise or scat much; that would develop later.

On June 16, 1939, Chick Webb died. It was decided that Fitzgerald would front the orchestra even though she had little to do with the repertoire or hiring or firing the musicians. She retained her popularity and when she broke up the band in 1941 and went solo; it was not long before her Decca recordings contained more than their share of hits. She was teamed with the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, and the Delta Rhythm Boys for some best-sellers, and in 1946 began working regularly for Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. Granz became her manager although it would be nearly a decade before he could get her on his label. A major change occurred in Fitzgerald's singing around this period. She toured with Dizzy Gillespie's big band, adopted bop as part of her style, and started including exciting scat-filled romps in her set. Her recordings of "Lady Be Good," "How High the Moon," and "Flying Home" during 1945-1947 became popular and her stature as a major jazz singer rose as a result. For a time (December 10, 1947-August 28, 1953) she was married to bassist Ray Brown and used his trio as a backup group. Fitzgerald's series of duets with pianist Ellis Larkins in 1950 (a 1954 encore with Larkins was a successful follow-up) found her interpreting George Gershwin songs, predating her upcoming Songbooks series.

After appearing in the film Pete Kelly's Blues in 1955, Fitzgerald signed with Norman Granz's Verve label and over the next few years she would record extensive Songbooks of the music of Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart, Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer. Although (with the exception of the Ellington sets) those were not her most jazz-oriented projects (Fitzgerald stuck mostly to the melody and was generally accompanied by string orchestras), the prestigious projects did a great deal to uplift her stature. At the peak of her powers around 1960, Fitzgerald's hilarious live version of "Mack the Knife" (in which she forgot the words and made up her own) from Ella in Berlin is a classic and virtually all of her Verve recordings are worth getting.

Fitzgerald's Capitol and Reprise recordings of 1967-1970 are not on the same level as she attempted to "update" her singing by including pop songs such as "Sunny" and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," sounding quite silly in the process. But Fitzgerald's later years were saved by Norman Granz's decision to form a new label, Pablo. Starting with a Santa Monica Civic concert in 1972 that is climaxed by Fitzgerald's incredible version of "C Jam Blues" (in which she trades off with and "battles" five classic jazzmen), Fitzgerald was showcased in jazz settings throughout the 1970s with the likes of Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, and Joe Pass, among others. Her voice began to fade during this era and by the 1980s her decline due to age was quite noticeable. Troubles with her eyes and heart knocked her out of action for periods of time, although her increasingly rare appearances found Fitzgerald still retaining her sense of swing and joyful style. By 1994, Ella Fitzgerald was in retirement and she passed away two years later, but she remains a household name and scores of her recordings are easily available on CD. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: For Lovers

1. The Nearness Of You

2. Stars Fell On Alabama

3. Dream A Little Dream Of Me

4. Under A Blanket Of Blue

5. Moonlight In Vermont

6. Love Is Here To Stay

7. Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)

8. Would You Like To Take A Walk

9. Isn't This A Lovely Day

10. Autumn In New York

11. Tenderly

x

Track List: Jazz 'Round Midnight

1. Can't We Be Friends

3. They All Laughed

4. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

5. Summertime

6. Comes Love

7. Under A Blanket Of Blue

8. I Won't Dance

9. Don't Be That Way

10. Bess, You Is My Woman Now

11. I'm Puttin' All My Eggs In One Basket

12. April In Paris

13. Love Is Here To Stay

14. Stars Fell On Alabama

x

Track List: Ella & Louis Again

1. Don't Be That Way

2. They All Laughed

3. Autumn In New York

4. Stompin' At The Savoy

5. I Won't Dance

6. Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You

7. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

8. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

9. I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket

10. A Fine Romance

11. Love Is Here To Stay

12. Learnin' The Blues

x

Track List: Ella And Louis

1. Can't We Be Friends

3. Moonlight In Vermont

4. They Can't Take That Away From Me

5. Under A Blanket of Blue

6. Tenderly

7. A Foggy Day

8. Stars Fell On Alabama

9. Cheek To Cheek

10. The Nearness Of You

11. April In Paris

x

Track List: Porgy & Bess

1. Overture

2. Summertime

3. I Wants To Stay Here

4. My Man's Gone Now

5. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'

6. Buzzard Song

7. Bess, You Is My Woman Now

8. It Ain't Necessarily So

11. Oh, Doctor Jesus

13. There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York

14. Bess, Oh Where's My Bess?

15. Oh Lawd, I'm On My Way

x

Track List: The Complete Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong On Verve

Disc 1

1. Can't We Be Friends

2. Isn't This A Lovely Day

3. Moonlight In Vermont

4. They Can't Take That Away From Me

5. Under A Blanket Of Blue

6. Tenderly

7. A Foggy Day

8. Stars Fell On Alabama

9. Cheek To Cheek

10. The Nearness Of You

11. April In Paris

12. Don't Be That Way

13. Makin' Whoopee

14. They All Laughed

15. Comes Love

16. Autumn In New York

Disc 2

1. Let's Do It

2. Stompin' At The Savoy

3. I Won't Dance

4. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You

5. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

6. These Foolish Things

7. I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

8. Willow Weep For Me

9. I'm Puttin' All My Eggs In One Basket

10. A Fine Romance

11. Ill Wind (You're Blowin' Me No Good)

12. Love Is Here To Stay

13. I Get A Kick Out Of You

14. Learnin' The Blues

15. You Won't Be Satisfied (Until You Break My Heart)

16. Undecided

Disc 3

1. Overture

2. Summertime

3. I Wants To Stay Here

4. My Man's Gone Now

5. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'

6. The Buzzard Song

7. Bess, You Is My Woman Now

8. It Ain't Necessarily So

11. Oh, Doctor Jesus

13. There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York

15. Oh Lawd, I'm On My Way

Comments

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this lady was a classey Ella Fitzgerald was where it was at dad use to play her albums all the time moved to here her sing we need each other and I will love you always and we still have plenty of summer left we need to have fun with each other I want to hold if I was with you I would kiss you
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hearts.rosey
DONT READ THIS.YOU WILL BE KISSED ON THE NEAREST FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE.NOW YOU'VE STARTED READING THIS.DONT STOP THIS IS FREAKY.BUTIF YOU READ THIS AND IGNORE IT YOU WILL GET BAD LUCK.PUT THIS ON 15 SONGS IN 143 MIN.WHEN YOU ARE DONE PRESS THE SPACE BAR AND YOUR CRUSHES NAME WILL APPEAR IN BIG LETTERS ON THE SCREEN THIS IS SO CREEPY CAUSE IT ACTUALLY WORKS....
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Love the old music
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its all good
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ELLA!
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conversemomm y
Love this
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I'm a 5th grader and I'm listening to the most awesome radio ever in your face Meghan trainer !!!!!!!! :0
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Great talents, they know how to make real music...mmmm m !
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mzrdrgz28
The fact is a good time with a you on your face is so good even when I was in love
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kenandmelody
Classic and fine, a glass of something nice and warm, and I am in heaven!
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hello dolly...penn i e s , all Louis is great...
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Now you've started reading this don't stop this is so freaky. But if you read this and ignore it then you will have very bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 143 mins. When you are done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on the screen this is so freaky it actually works
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Wow, I love Louie, and Ella!! :-). ❤️❤️✨✨
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Ella Fitzgerald WOW! Music and voices good to my ears : )))
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dragonlady60 8 8
ITFPT 1....IT DOESNT WORK BYE BYE
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dragonlady60 8 8
I love the Song...ILL BE SEEING YOU. NTBK
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dragonlady60 8 8
LOVE ELLA AND LOUIS
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makes my heart feel just :)
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Ahh, the days when "music"was actually music
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Nm nm my
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kevinpaulcon d o n
I think Oscar Peterson is on piano in this cut. Why not mentioned?
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legendarylou i s a
Ella fitzgerald has an amazing voice:))
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mikekingston 1 1 1 1
Sing with your heart and you can't lose its the way you say the words
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djbenter76
They sound soo good together
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eagleghostri d e r 1 9 8 5
they both sang beautifully, especially ella, oh just a gorgeous voice.
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alathrop25
I love this music , so jazzy
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Two of the Greats!
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Pandora . please isn't there a way to keep the kiss your hand comments off by 2016 .Too much space is wasted . it has Nothing to do with these tunes . just Stupid !
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Go Ella!!!!
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I just wish this music cud live forever Ella is my favorite. And the best jazz singer in the world to me i wish u cud tell her tht I'm her no. one fan. So if she have any family member this is for you also. I love this woman an tried to sing like her just couldn't get the scat part.. Lol
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You never kno what a cowboy might bring, love this song!
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Oh, what a fantastic team.....Rea l l y enjoy them..
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Doesn't get much better than these two wonderful people. I could listen to them forever. Love them.
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morgantrumpe t 6 9
Louis Armstrong the best on trumpet for classics and a beautiful sound
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alexandradel e o 5
A perfect love song
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It lives on here
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i think you may like Micheal Bubble then because he has that sound and he is modern and very popular
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Good question...m a y b e , just maybe, Pandora will revive listeners interest in this wonderful music. One never knows.
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Love this, What happened to this kind of Soul Music☺
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ıllıllı I am a young artist hoping to improve her singing, do any of you have tips? ıllıllı
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Music made for the soul.
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mike3345mike
smooth ... relaxing ..
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vasconezange l a
All time classics.... the best of the best!! Soothing for our ears and our souls....mus i c and lyrics that makes sense!!!
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"Summertime" one of my all time favorites.
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Oh wonderful music
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Good to listen to some classic music, need a break from today's kaos.
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wow this is nice
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"Dream a Little Dream of Me",a great song done by two music giants.God Bless America again please.
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Always come back 40!s / 50!s
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The classic artists went through what ever it took to play back inn the days when they could taut in the diner to eat or use a bathroom with their own bands. Now that's dedication and I've been respecting them sine I was a small child. Each time one passes my heart breaks. Last week was BB King.. God bless the couragous
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