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Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady Of Song

Ella Fitzgerald.
William P. Gottlieb
Library of Congress via flickr.com
Ella Fitzgerald.

Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most recognized voices in jazz history. As a teen, her dream was to be a dancer, but fate had different plans for her. At age 16, she was planning to perform a dance at Harlem's famed Apollo Theatre Amateur Night, which always took place after a headlining performance. The headline act that night included professional dancers — a tough act for an amateur to follow. Instead, Fitzgerald decided to sing. She captivated the crowd and won the contest. From then on, she would win countless fans throughout her career, in the process becoming the First Lady of Song.

Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady Of Song

A-Tisket, A-Tasket

From 'Something to Live For'

By Ella Fitzgerald

This 1938 recording of "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" sold more than a million copies when it was first released. Who would have thought that a traditional children's tune could turn into such a swinging jazz standard? Fitzgerald fronts Chick Webb's Orchestra here.

Something's Gotta Give

From 'Best of the Songbooks'

By Ella Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald recorded many albums highlighting the song books of great American composers. This rousing number is straight off a page from the Johnny Mercer song book. Try to sing along, and you'll realize what a master of timing and phrasing she was.

It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)

From 'Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book'

By Ella Fitzgerald

If you're looking for a song that defines swing, this is it. Fitzgerald sings and scats her way through a signature Duke Ellington tune with seeming effortlessness. Stuff Smith is featured on violin.

Blue Skies

From 'Best of Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song'

By Ella Fitzgerald

"Blue Skies" sounds as happy and carefree as a sunny summer day. Her talent for scatting as naturally as breathing is highlighted on this tune. This song was originally released on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book.

Day Dream

From 'Best of the Songbooks: The Ballads'

By Ella Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald brought a depth of emotion to every song she sang, whether it be happy or sad. This version of Billy Strayhorn's classic composition is reflective and melancholy. She sings here with Ellington and his Orchestra.

Copyright 2008 90.5 WESA

Shaunna Morrison Machosky