Ella Fitzgerald Day
April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996
April In Paris
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Legendary jazz and blues singer Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Virginia.
After a difficult childhood which included the death of her mother at 15 and being sent to an orphanage, she found her way to the stage at the Apollo Theater where she was quickly popular.
Drummer and bandleader Chick Webb discovered her while she was performing at the Harlem Opera House and at 18 she began singing with his orchestra.
“A-Tisket, A-Tasket” which she co-wrote at 21 was a pop hit in 1938.
Fitzgerald’s solo career began in 1942 and she went on to a fantastically fruitful career and many happy creative collaborations.
The Cuban music wizard Mario Bauza, who was Webb’s musical director, discovered her at the Apollo Theater and encouraged Webb to give her an audition. Originally, Webb was not impressed, but took her along to a gig at Yale University.
The audience loved her and in Bauza’s own words “we couldn’t get her off the stage the people loved her so much.”
In 1938 her star shone bright with her jazz version of the nursery rhyme, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”, a song she co-wrote with Al Feldman,(later known as Van Alexander).
Ella launched her solo career in 1942 during which she would be accompanied by a number of popular artists including “The Delta Rhythm Boys”, “The Ink Spots”, and Louis Jordan.
She would also start working for Norman Granz appearing regularly at his Jazz at the Philharmonic.
Revered for her tonal purity and inspired scat singing she recorded over seventy albums over the course of her long and prosperous career.
Known for her exceptional interpretations from the Great American Songbook, she will forever be remember as the “First Lady of Song.”
Ella Fitzgerald sings “April In Paris” live in Brussels, Belgium in 1957.
Ella Fitzgerald, vocals
Don Abney, piano
Herb Ellis, guitar
Ray Brown, bass
Jo Jones, drums