WYSO

Ella 101

Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
Credit William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, was born 101 years ago. Beloved around the world as not just America's foremost jazz vocalist, but perhaps the premier interpreter of The Great American Songbook, Ella won 13 Grammy Awards and has sold over 40 million albums.

For the next 101 days, every day, Equinox host Duante Beddingfield will share a recording from her six-decade career and discussing its context among her catalogue and, occasionally, among music history.

Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

One of Ella Fitzgerald's biggest strengths was her formidable skill with scatting, and so it seems necessary to demonstrate that right out of the gate.

To those who don't understand it, scatting may just sound like formless, random gibberish with no connection to the music happening around it, but it's really just the vocal version of an instrumental solo wherein the singer improvises vocals around the chord structure of the song. In that sense, it's no different from a sax or guitar solo.

Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, was born 101 years ago today. Beloved around the world as not just America's foremost jazz vocalist, but perhaps the premier interpreter of The Great American Songbook, Ella won 13 Grammy Awards and has sold over 40 million albums.

Every day for the next 101 days, I'll be sharing a recording from her six-decade career and discussing its context among her catalogue and, occasionally, among music history.

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