Ella Fitzgerald, ‘First Lady Of Song’
Her voice is instantly recognizable. Her youthful exuberance, pure sound and positive energy just make you feel good. Her incredible technical abilities were self-evident, but when she sang, she radiated a joy consistent with her own character both on and off the bandstand.
Ella Fitzgerald was the undisputed queen of jazz singing and American popular song. She demonstrated extraordinary talent as a young teen, winning an amateur singing contest at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. Initially, she was going to dance, but a case of stage fright inspired her to sing, “Object of My Affection.” Soon after her Apollo Theater stint, drummer and bandleader Chick Webb asked the shy 16 year-old Ella to join his orchestra. At first, Webb was hesitant to bring her in because she didn’t have the standard good looks of a singing diva. Luckily, Ella had a voice that no one could match.
Ella’s rare combination of confidence and innocence reflected the spirit of mid-20th century America. Despite her popularity, she never deviated from her commitment to jazz as an art form. She could improvise right next to saxophonists like Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins or Lester Young, then turn around and perform a classic American ballad while infusing it with her natural swing. READ/LISTEN TO THE STORY