Ella Fitzgerald

That clean, clear, flexible, and soulful voice can only belong to "The Queen of Song," Ella Fitzgerald. She amazes us with her improvising, range, and pristine intonation sounding like a trumpet at times. And she makes us laugh out loud when she scats, sounding like she knows something we don’t. But above all, Ella sounds like a lady, and one of the greatest jazz performers of any kind, of any time. You voted her the No. 2 Most Essential Jazz Artist.

The great Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25th, 1917, and sadly she died in 1996. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, "The Queen of Jazz" - also called "The First Lady of Song," left a lasting legacy on American song and jazz.

Since it opened its doors in 1913, the Apollo Theater has survived a series of iterations, closures, renovations, and shifts in direction. Its allure as a venue for jazz began in the 1930s with the debut of Jazz a la Carte, a show with an all-black cast.

The songs, or standards, known to us today as "The Great American Songbook" flourished from the mid 1920s to about 1950. Singer Carmen McRae popularized the term with her 1972 album, The Great American Songbook. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, a new book on the subject shines light on the role of jazz in the rise, fall, and rebirth of these great American songs.


WRTI's Susan Lewis takes a look at the life and music of the great jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, with commentary by Jazz Host Bob Perkins. April 25th is Ella's birthday! She would have turned 98 today.

Drummer Chick Webb's 1930s orchestra terrorized competitors in band battles and sent dancers into orbit at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. They could be similarly explosive on record, but only rarely. Early on, they did have some hot Edgar Sampson arrangements that Benny Goodman would soon turn into hits, like "Blue Lou" and "Don't Be That Way." But the Webb band also had an old-school crooner, Charles Linton, with pre-jazz-age enunciation.

Spend the Thanksgiving holiday with WRTI as we page through the Great American Songbook to celebrate one of the great American holidays!  From Gershwin and Porter compositions to tunes that the jazz giants made standard, these great pieces will be the perfect companion to your Thanksgiving feast.  You'll hear the greatest singers and bandleaders of jazz along with contemporary arrangements of these popular tunes.

We'll kick off the festivities at 6 pm on Thanksgiving and continue through Saturday morning. Join us as we give thanks for great music!

Both Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan recorded Gershwin songbook albums in the late 1950s. The first hour of Voices in Jazz this week will feature recordings from both of these famous jazz singers.

Each will sing stunning versions of "Embraceable You" - and even Louis Armstrong gets to squeeze in a couple of duets with Ella. Also, a rebroadcast of an interview with Carolyn Nelson, a Philadelphia-area singer performing songs from her Come A Little Closer CD. Sunday, September 23rd, 3 to 6 pm on the all-jazz stream and WRTI HD-2.

David Patrick Stearns profiles the Ecuadorian-born, Philadelphia-based composer, Diego Luzuriaga.

Eric Brannon considers a virtual public art exhibition in Philadelphia viewable only through the screens of smart phones.

Susan Lewis takes a look at the life and music of the great jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald.

*Information about how to view sculptures in the VPAP

 

David Patrick Stearns profiles the Ecuadorian-born, Philadelphia-based composer Diego Luzuriaga.

Eric Brannon considers a Philadelphia public art exhibition viewable only through the screens of smart phones.

Susan Lewis takes a look at the life and music of the great jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald.

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