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Ella Fitzgerald: Celebrating 100 Years of the First Lady of Song

Ella Fitzgerald

April is Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM).  This month-long celebration of an American art form was inaugurated in 2002 by the National Museum of American History, which  provides concerts, lectures, and classes to bring people closer to the music.  Every year has a new theme, and as this year marks the centenary of one of the most iconic voices of the 20th century, JAM 2017 is focused on the life and music of the great Ella Fitzgerald. Discover this incomparable voice at your library by checking out these items today!



Ella Fitzgerald: a Biography of the First Lady of Jazz by Stuart Nicholson

Stuart Nicholson's biography of Ella Fitzgerald is considered a classic in jazz literature. Drawing on original documents, interviews, and new information, Nicholson creates a complete picture of Fitzgerald's professional and personal life. Fitzgerald rose from being a pop singer with chart-novelty hits in the late '30s to become a bandleader and then one of the greatest interpreters of American popular song. Along with Billie Holiday, she virtually defined the female voice in jazz, and countless others followed in her wake and acknowledged her enormous influence.

Ken Burns’ Jazz: The Story of America's Music

This collection was a collaboration of Verve Records and Ken Burns, and was part of his great documentary, Jazz. The highlights start in 1938 with "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" and "Vote for Mr. Rhythm," and continue with one track from the '40s ("Flying Home") and eight tracks from the '50s (including her essential interpretations from the great American songbook and a duet with Louis Armstrong). The disc concludes with highlights from the early '60s, including "Mack the Knife," "How High the Moon," and "Shiny Stockings. This is the perfect CD for the novice Fitzgerald listener.

Ella Fitzgerald: the Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa by A.D. Pinkney with Scat Cat Monroe; illus. by Brian Pinkney

Ella Fitzgerald began her life as a singer on the stage of the Apollo Theater when she was just seventeen years old. Her rich voice and vocal innovations brought her fame and a remarkable career that spanned half a century and won her generations of fans around the world. Acclaimed author Andrea Davis Pinkney has told Ella's inspiring story in the voice of Scat Cat Monroe, a feline fan whose imagined narrative sings with the infectious rhythms of scat. Two-time Caldecott Honor winner Brian Pinkney's dramatic perspectives and fantastical images offer a jazzy improvisation all their own. You can also check out the accompanying CD!.

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book by Ella Fitzgerald

This set includes two CDs with 32 songs chosen from Berlin's collection of nearly 800 songs. These selections are perfectly suited for Fitzgerald's voice and her romantic sensibility; they are happy, occasionally sad, and full of swinging rhythm. A few of these songs -- "Cheek to Cheek," "Puttin' on the Ritz," and "Blue Skies" -- will be most familiar; others, "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails," "Russian Lullaby," and "All By Myself" are as memorable but perhaps less known. Choices like "Isn't This a Lovely Day?" feature everything a listener would want in a song: intelligent lyrics, memorable melodies, and a strong emotional center. To say that Fitzgerald is in good voice for these recordings would be an understatement. Her presentation here is simply regal.

Ella Fitzgerald: a Twentieth-Century Life by Tanya Lee Stone

The First Lady of Song earned her nickname by touring almost nonstop for over fifty years, winning thirteen Grammys, and recording album after album.

But who was the woman behind the name? How did a teenage runaway become a renowned jazz singer? Long after her homeless days, Ella remained insecure and she often suffered stage fright. Yet she was a born performer, able to improvise lyrics and record songs in single takes. She even seemed more comfortable on stage than off, and close friends found her hard to truly know. Tanya Lee Stone's biography delivers several never-before-published details of this intensely private, legendary singer's life.

The Best of the Song Books by Ella Fitzgerald

This collection highlights the best songs from Fitzgerald’s recordings of more than 200 works for the American Song Book and features a captivating lineup of some of jazz's greatest composers and arrangers. Included are songs of Cole Porter, Rogers & Hart, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer. Fitzgerald’s charisma and vocal prowess shine in this collection of up-tempo brass band hits and soft ballads.

Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song by Katherine E. Krohn

This is a straightforward, factual biography that begins with Fitzgerald's years as a struggling, homeless teenager who entered singing contests in Harlem. The author continues with descriptions of her subject's early career as the lead vocalist with Chick Webb and His Orchestra; her rise to celebrity status in 1938 at age 20 with her first hit record, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket"; her easy mastery of new techniques, such as bebop and scat singing; and her many awards and honors. Clear, detailed descriptions of the differences between swing bands and bebop bands, the art of scat, and the contributions of other jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong make this book useful as a brief history of jazz as well as a biography.

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