Born only two days before me 97 years ago was a great woman, vocalist and icon. Ella Fitgerald sang her way into the hearts of the jazz world after her legendary performance at the Apollo theater in Harlem. She’s known as a great collaborator because of the vast array of artists she’d create with, and as the woman who popularized scat singing.
The outro of “T-Baby” on my album LIZZOBANGERS features a brief moment of scat singing that I adopted from the great songstress. Because of her, I love to scat at my live shows. She had such a large presence on stage, and could hold the audience in the palm of her hand. When I need inspiration I watch her and her limitless grin, and listen to her smooth rich voice.
“Summertime” is one of my favorite pieces to warm-up to. In my opinion, the timeless melody and dark feel have yet to be captured better than in Ella’s performance of the song. She could bring a smile out of you as quickly as a tear from your eye. And as the first African-American woman to win a Grammy award, she broke barriers and set a bar for all to reach for. I aspire to be as groundbreaking, trend setting, and honestly beautiful as she was.
Throw on her upbeat, vocally astonishing version of “It Don’t Mean A Thing” and remember the legend, Ella Fitzgerald.
This week, The Current celebrates Ella Fitzgerald in honor of Black History Month. Listen for Fitzgerald’s music throughout the week.