Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Musical Artists I Love - Ella Fitzgerald

I am mad about Jazz music. Possibly because I grew up watching old movies with my Mom and the musical style of the time was Jazz, maybe because I was in Jazz choir all throughout High School (it’s the cool thing to do in the Northwest, you know), perhaps because Jazz is automatically familiar and sentimental because most of the Christmas standards we grew up with are in that style, but most definitely because its just so classy and inventive and cool. There are a lot of great old Jazz singers- Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Bobby Darin, Sarah Vaughan… and even some contemporary Jazz singers who can hold their own- Diana Krall, Michael Buble', Jane Monheit, Jamie Cullum… If someone had never heard any Jazz though and wanted to know the best, then for me it will always be Ella Fitzgerald. Hands down. I know, I know, old Blue Eyes is the one that probably springs first to mind as 'classic jazz' for most people, and there is no question that he has one of the most iconic voices that ever was. Jazz isn't just about the voice, though, its the style. Not only does Ella have a beautiful, clear quality to her voice that is lovely for ballads, but she is a master at scatting and improvisation. Seriously, the things that woman could do with her voice. She really just becomes one of the instruments in the band. She'll even mess up or forget the words here and there and she just makes them up and keeps going without skipping a beat.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I'm Beginning to See the Light

How High the Moon

What I love the best about Ella though is that she just sounds like she is having so much fun. Even when she is singing a heartbreaking ballad it sounds like there is this bubble of joyfulness waiting to burst out. If I could pick one musician/group that I could go back in time and see perform it would be Ella Fitzgerald. Sure it would be thrilling to go back and get caught up in the excitement and energy and fanaticism of an Elvis or Beatles concert, but for the pure experience of watching a musical genius ... I would rather sit in a smokey old club with Ella.

Ella and Louis Armstrong often colaborated. One of my very favorite CDs is Ella and Louis duets. They even singone of my theme songs:

I Won't Dance

Oh and also, she has a killer Louis Armstrong impression:

I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Mack the Knife

I ♥ her.


Scooter and Jessica Plowman said...

I love her too! You introduced me - and I'm never going back. She is also probably my all time fav.

SisterPresidentMann said...

I can't believe how young Ella and Louis look! I'd never heard their "I Won't Dance" It's great. Maybe Parker can invent some kind of time machine so you can go back and see them...

Amy said...

i wanna sit in a smokey old club with you too.

Jana said...

I love her too. She sounds so homey and reminds me of Christmas.
PS- LOVE your MJ sacrament meeting story. Hilarious!