Ella Fitzgerald was one of the great Jazz singers of the 20th century, in this performance she uses her voice as an instrument – she finds the note, hits the vibrato pedal, then sustains, she holds a small cloth to wipe away her perspiration.
She famously recorded a series of ‘Songbook albums’ that represented the great songwriters of the era. Here are her interpretations of the songs of Cole Porter.
I read a book about her and one memorable story was that she got her break at The Apollo Theatre amateur night in Harlem, where she went on stage as a dancer but was so scared that she couldn’t move, so she started to sing instead – she won the contest. Another; she was performing in a Mafia frequented club in I think, California. A man fell towards the stage, stabbed collapsing in front of her – she finished the song.
In later years she had both her legs amputated below the knee due to diabetes, she died at home in California in 1996 aged 79.