July 28, 2021

On a day like today the unmistakable voice of jazz was born: Ella Fitzgerald

One of the most influential voices in jazz was undoubtedly Ella Fitzgerald. Was born a April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Virginia, United States, and grew up in Yonkers, New York.

Throughout his life he had to face the prejudices of being “poor, woman and black”. However, it came to be recognized worldwide as the Queen of jazz and First lady of song. Winner of fourteen Gammy Awards, her repertoire ranged from blues, swing, bossa nova, samba, gospel, calypso, and pop, among other genres.

Jazz, that form of black music represented mostly by African Americans, originated in the United States from the confrontation of blacks with European music. The rhythm, phrasing, sound production and elements of blues harmony are derived from African music and the musical concept of African Americans.

The abandonment of his father and the death of his mother marked his childhood, close to prostitution and drugs, and in this context she was interned in a reformatory.

But the one who never left her was her ally and great companion: music. As a child, in Harlem, she sang and danced through the streets accompanied by her cousin. He sang at school and in the Bethany African Methodist Episcopal Church choir and learned to play the piano.

First steps

At the age of 17 he made his debut, by chance, as a singer in the Harlem Apollo Theater in New York, winning the Amateur Night Shows contest. Her dream was to be a dancer but she went on stage and when she saw all the people she had a nervous breakdown and then she tried to sing.

On 1935 began singing with the Chick Weeb band at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom and rose to fame with his version of the lullaby “A Tisket a Tasket” in 1938. In 1941 he began his solo career and by 1946 he adopted the bebop musical style, approaching jazz.

Recognition came from the songs “Lady Be Good”, “How High the Moon” and “Flying Home” in the period 1945-1947. He formed unforgettable duets with Louis Armstrong and recorded Song Books of composers like Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen, y Jerome Kern, among others.

Throughout his career he shared the stage with stars of the stature of Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Abbot y Costello y Frank Sinatra.

Her and Frank Sinatra.

At the age of 68, she began with serious health problems that kept her away from the stage. Breathing difficulties, congestive heart failure and exhaustion haunted her. Diabetes caused the amputation of both of his legs and affected his eyesight. His last days were spent in his Beverly Hills mansion, where He died on June 15, 1996, at the age of 79, but left a legacy forever that continues to generate enjoyment to this day.