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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: When You Smile (EP)

3. The Nearness Of You

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 Sing Gershwin

1. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'

2. He Loves And She Loves

3. A Woman Is A Sometime Thing

4. They Can't Take That Away From Me

5. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

6. Strike Up The Band

7. Things Are Looking Up

8. They All Laughed

9. A Foggy Day

10. How Long Has This Been Going On

11. Summertime

12. Love Is Here To Stay

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

14. 's Wonderful

15. I Was Doing All Right

16. Oh, Lady Be Good

x

Track List: The Best Of Verve

1. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

2. Love Is Here To Stay

3. The Nearness Of You

4. Stars Fell On Alabama

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

6. They Can't Take That Away From Me

7. Autumn In New York

8. Summertime

9. Tenderly

10. Stompin' At The Savoy

11. Under A Blanket Of Blue

12. I Wants To Stay Here

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

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

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

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

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

x

Track List: Compact Jazz: Ella & Louis

1. They Can't Take That Away From Me

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

3. I Won't Dance

4. It Ain't Necessarily So

5. A Fine Romance

6. Stompin' At The Savoy

7. A Foggy Day

8. Don't Be That Way

9. Summertime

10. Cheek To Cheek

11. Can't We Be Friends

12. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

x

Track List: Porgy & Bess

1. Overture

2. Summertime

3. I Wants To Stay Here

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: 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: Jazz Masters 24

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

2. Isn't This A Lovely Day

3. Learnin' The Blues

4. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'

5. Moonlight In Vermont

6. Under A Blanket Of Blue

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

8. Our Love Is Here To Stay

9. April In Paris

10. Tenderly

11. Bess, You Is My Woman Now

12. They All Laughed

Comments

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Andy Williams
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amacnab_95
Great African American singers
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Ella and Lou hand and gloves what a pair in an era still defining the music,the people no matter the package appreciate that source beyond that surface love you both,generat i o n s before me relish it also
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DONT READ THIS. YOU WILL BE KISSED ON THE NEAREST POSSIBLE FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. TOMMARROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. NOW YOUVE STARTED READING THIS DONT 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 SPACEBAR AND YOUR CRUSHES NAME WILL APPER IN BIG LETTERS ON THE SCREEN THIS IS SO FREAKY IT ACTUALLY WORKS.
Report as inappropriate
And Louis Armstrong is a great anding his voice to the song with Ella... And Ella Fitzgerald the lady of Jazz!
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Ella was such a lovely person I talked to her by phone. Her singing was fantastic.
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fontanarama2 0 1 3 . . . y e s you are correct!
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This is magnificent! ! There should be a statue of Ella and Louis on the Washington Mall
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fire_dust_00
Oh, Ella! I love her!!! Best female vocalist of all time in my book. Her voice reminds me of my grandma's... . ❤
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Love all her songs especially the jazzy hop scat era! One of the greatly appreciated female jazz singers!
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Really!?!?
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Ella's reminds me of all the friends and music when we were young love her music.
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It makes a Sunday night special
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Ahhhhhh..... . . . .
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garammasala1 9 6 8
So beautiful
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Quality is superb..love Ella. Congratulati o n s on a beautiful app.��
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MERAVIGLIOSI !!!!!!!!!
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With that being said, Rest in Peace, Ella and Louis.
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Like Alan Jackson's song Death on Music Row everything artists make nowadays is complete garbage, this is back when people took pride in what they made, including music, and Louis and Ella are proof of that statement, so yes Death on Music Row is actually happening.
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Ella��
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Perfection
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Louie, & Ella so absolutely Awesome together!!!! ! ! ! Love These Two!!!!!!!!❤
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When you get a chance dream a Little dream of me
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Simply The best!
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Music at its best
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Ella. Ella. Ella. Ella��
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Classic and untouchable, Satchmo and Ella,,hits me in the soul where is should.
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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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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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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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they both sang beautifully, especially ella, oh just a gorgeous voice.
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