I am always the last to appreciate things but now I can say – I finally listened to Ella Fitzgerald. I wish I had done so earlier, but there’s so much music and so little time it seems.
I want to apologize for ever saying that jazz is as dead as Latin, but I hadn’t heard Ella then. (Also, does it feel overly familiar to just call her “Ella”? Because her name slides off the tongue so smoothly and perfectly, like her voice, and I love saying it.)
My favorite tracks at the moment are “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” – because of the added bonus of its being a duet with the great Satchmo himself, Louis Armstrong. And also her version of “Someone To Watch Over Me” has to be the best version I’ve ever heard. That little dip she does at the end of “Tell me.. where is the shepherd for this lost lamb” is pure perfection!
And check this – she recorded “Three Little Words”, from one of my favorite movies ever!
And what can be said of her “Mack The Knife”? It’s a song that has been recorded by so many luminaries, but her version is the one that stands out for me. Bobby Darin’s is probably the most well known, and Frank Sinatra’s is probably the coolest, and I love them both. But the way Lady Ella sings the song (the live version from the album Mack The Knife: Ella In Berlin) is untouchable – and to think she even forgot the lyrics and improvised! She was so good that even Sinatra referenced her (along with Darin and Armstrong) in his own version: “They did this song nice, Lady Ella too, they all sang it with so much feeling, that Ol’ Blue Eyes, he ain’t gonna add nothing new.”
Listening to Lady Ella is so comforting and calming, and makes me feel like my brain is turned on and that I’m really alive. And I think it was perfect timing as well, because I first started listening to her when I was coming out of one of my depressive episodes. Or maybe listening to her helped me get through that.
Whatever the case, I’m so happy I was finally blessed to listen to the great Ella Fitzgerald.