Ella Fitzgerald

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About Ella Fitzgerald

Among the most essential vocalists in popular music, Ella Fitzgerald bridged the spheres of jazz and pop with her sophisticated and expressive style for six decades. Born in 1917 in Virginia and raised in Yonkers, NY, she drew inspiration from Methodist church singing as well as from pop crooners like Bing Crosby and Connie Boswell. After winning a contest at the Apollo in 1934, Fitzgerald began her storied career by fronting Chick Webb’s dance band, gaining a reputation for her nuanced swing phrasing and stunning technical acumen. Her swaggering setting of “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” announced her in the popular sphere in 1938. In the ’40s and ’50s, she delved into pop while exploring the nascent bebop style in collaborations with Dizzy Gillepsie, Ray Brown, and other progressive jazz luminaries, helping to expand the field of scat singing. Beginning with 1956’s Cole Porter collection, her lushly orchestrated songbook albums for Verve and her joint LPs with Louis Armstrong remain perhaps her most enduring and revered recordings. After recording into the final decade of her life, Fitzgerald died in 1996.

Newport News, VA, United States
April 25, 1917
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