Ella Fitzgerald—A Tribute
Ella Fitzgerald’s career as a jazz singer gives hope to all the souls of the world who lose their fair path because of circumstances but still want to survive and succeed. Her life shows us how she struggled back onto the road to stardom. Her parents broke up soon after she was born. Her mother was her support in her young life but she died when Ella was just fifteen.
Left alone in the world she tried to survive by working as a look-out for a cathouse. She did a number of these shady jobs, was caught by the authorities and forced to live in an asylum for colored women and later into a New York State Reformatory. She ran away to seek a new life.
Harlem in New York gave her a break into the singing world, first at the Apollo Theatre, the Opera House and then at the Savoy Ballroom. She made a number of successful records with Webb’s Orchestra in 1938. Indeed she became the leader of the band after Chick Webb’s death. Three years later she shot to fame and super success with a nursery rhyme A Tisket-A Tasket. She kept on recording records with the Orchestra which was now called Ella and Her Famous Orchestra. She recorded an amazing 150 records with the Orchestra till 1942 when the band broke up.
This was the launching pad for Ella into her solo and jazz career. She included her Scat singing into her repertoire. Norman Granz her manager was central to the growth of Ella as an artist. With his encouragement and record label Verve, Ella opened the door to a new era of songbooks with The Cole Porter Songbook. In almost a decade from 1956-1964 she did eight different songbook records of famous musicians. She changed the music world— “Here was a black woman popularizing urban songs often written by immigrant Jews to a national audience of predominantly white Christians"—wrote Frank Rich in the New York Times.
She was indefatigable and toured 45 weeks in a year. She travelled the world and may be the greatest jazz performers who gave live concerts. Verve the label she had made famous also made Granz rich when he sold it to MGM for 3 million dollars a huge amount in 1963. She flitted from label to label till Granz again created a successful record company named Pablo. The partnership continued with Ella’s success.
Ella died in 1996 on June 15th. In her amazing 79 year career she was honored with deep respect by American Presidents. In 1987 President Reagan honored her with the National Medal of Art. Born into the days of racial segregation she was later honored with her image on a US Postal Stamp. She was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992. She definitely is a great role model for modern American youth bemoaning their bad luck. Here was a woman who made her own luck from the pits of Harlem she rose to great heights with a Mansion in Beverly Hills. She was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards.
Born in 1917, April 25 was her 96th Birth Anniversary. She was remembered by a grateful world and shall always be in the hearts of music lovers to the end of time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx2YSOcbFCs Where she forgets the lyrics of Mack the Knife and carries it off beautifully.