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Ella Fitzgerald: 1917-1996
Ella Fitzgerald: 1917-1996
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The Fans Remember ELLA...
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This section is a place where everyone can share their reminiscences about Miss Fitzgerald. If you have a fond memory you would like to share, please e-mail it to us. We're eager to hear your comments and memories regarding the First Lady of Song, and will publish it on these pages for posterity.

Ella In Concert


I can hear you now as I write this.
I know that I should say I will miss you,
but it seems wrong somehow ---
because you will never really be gone.
All my love to you wherever
you may be singing now.

Love, Diane

I got to review Ella many times, at least five, between 1975 and 1988. She always gave a wonderful show, with tremendous vocals. But the thing I will always remember about her is the sound combined with an image: her head tilted during a song, and her left hand tapping the side of her leg in rhythm. There was something about those two moves that suggested her entire being was involved with the beat, wedded to it as if at birth.
spaceAnd there was a particular beat that seemed particularly her, an infectious, slightly bouncy, happy and yet thoughtful one. Every time I hear her on record, I see her entire body involved with the song that way. She was truly a marriage of an entire person to music, and particularly music as defined by the rhythms of swing.
spaceI always felt she was a marvelous romantic singer. That she believed in romance as something you hoped for always, even when it had just been lost. She didn't have that dark side to her interpretations, and when she tried I don't think they were convincing.
spaceI once interviewed her, and being young and bold I decided to see if she felt her vision was the right and only one. I asked something like, "Do you think the singers who paint these bleak visions of love lost are being too negative? Because you seem to try to avoid those." Her answer started with a moan. "Ohhhh noooo. I just LOVE what Frank and Billie do. They make that sadness so beautiful. Singers who can do that are just so special and gifted." And her voice sounded soft, sweet and innocent when she finished. Like a young fan.
spaceIt was an admission of her own limitations in a way. But it was interesting to me that a singer THIS great -- in many ways the greatest female vocalist of all time -- had only two names in mind as being in a league of their own.
spaceFor me, objectively, she is with the other two, established at a certain level of singing artistry that no others have attained. Everything else is opinions. Does Jolson's style carry over to today? Does Crosby's? Is Vaughan's accessible? Does Nat Cole's tantalize enough? Does Torme's FEEL enough? Did Hartman do enough that was noteworthy? Did Bennett and Clooney do too much that WASN'T noteworthy?
spaceMaybe some of these ultimately will pass their tests and transcend the very select ranks of pop singers to the MOST select rank. But I think that league, as of now, can only have three members: Holiday, Sinatra and Fitzgerald. That there is no question that, if there is a year 4996, people will be listening to nearly everything they did -- which is a lot -- in awe.

spaceVincent Reda
University at Albany

I am only 24 years old. While I was growing up and my friends were listening to Metallica and Megadeth, I was enjoying the greatest voice humanity has ever known. Ella and I had a very personal relationship, even though she and I never met. She became a close personal friend over the years, and I will miss her terribly. Thanks to her, though, I will always carry the love of the American Standard in my heart. Always.
spaceAnd I will miss her. Always. But I know that as long as I am alive, and as long compact discs are alive, her voice will ring true in my home.

Thank you for providing all of us fans a forum to express our love of America's First Lady of Song.

spaceJim Ziogas

Ella was a major figure in my own musical life, and I couldn't let her passing go unacknowledged.
spaceShe (along with Judy Garland) introduced my wife and me to the music of the pre-rock era. As baby boomers, we could easily have passed our lives without experiencing the "classic" era of American song. But after seeing a Garland concert on PBS, and after hearing our first Ella album, our musical world was suddenly much, much bigger.
spaceI'll never forget the early spring day when I first put on the LP of Ella's "Johnny Mercer Songbook." As the warm spring breeze freshened our house after months of winter, Nelson Riddle's marvelous opening strains of "Too Marvelous for Words" came through the speakers. Then, for the first time, Ella's voice began to freshen our lives. (Hope that isn't too corny -- but now, every time I open the windows for the first time in the spring, I really do have to put on the "Johnny Mercer Songbook.")
spaceMy wife and I were fortunate to see Ella during one of her final live appearances, in 1992 at Wolf Trap Farm national park outside of DC. After an enjoyable opening set by the fine pianist Marcus Roberts, Ella was helped onto the stage to thunderous applause. Then, before the performance began, Catherine Filene Shouse, the founder/donor of Wolf Trap, came out to give Ella an honorary degree from American University. Even though Ms. Shouse was in her 90s, she seemed much more vigorous than the frail Ella. My wife and I were both a bit worried.
spaceWe didn't need to worry, as it turned out. Ella, though frail in body, was certainly not frail in either voice or spirit. Although her voice had a bit more of an "edge" to it than before, it still had the buoyant spirit and rhythmic swing of her prime. She gave an amazing performance -- the only thing wrong with it was that it ended. I wish it could have gone on and on. And I wish she herself could have gone on and on. But in a big way, I think she will, because music was, certainly, her life, and her music will never end.

spaceKurt Schroeder

I first heard Ella voice when I was about 10. That's not saying much considering now Im 16. But she has had a great impact on my life. Im a singer, I study jazz at the HS of preforming arts. And ever since my ears were blessed with the first note that her heavenly voice bellowed my life and my singing career has benifited greatly.
spaceThe key to a good singer, jazz especially, is the ability to make your audience feel the song, the words, the emotions. That was her success.
space Every song that she sang held with it feelings that only she could express.
space My favorite song has been and will always be "Miss Otis Regrets" by Cole Porter. Every word she uttered I could feel. Her voice transformed my room into the melody. She will be always and forever the The First Lady Of Jazz. will be missed.

To Miss Ella -- Miss Otis regrets shes unable to lunch today, Madame.


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