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How Ella Fitzgerald inspires today's artists

Ella Fitzgerald's collaborations with jazz's greatest instrumentalists, including Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, remain some of her most popular works.
Ella Fitzgerald's collaborations with jazz's greatest instrumentalists, including Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, remain some of her most popular works.

Nearly thirty years after the influential jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald’s death, her legacy and influence remain strong.

Two recent books are inspired by her story. A biography, “Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song,” and the novel, “Ella.”

Ella Fitzgerald’s singing career began at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City in 1934. When she was 17 years old, she performed the song “Judy” at Amateur Night. She won the contest.

Over the course of her career, Ella gained fame for transforming jazz vocals with her trademark scatting. She remade the Great American Songbook in her voice by recording versions of legendary classics by the Gershwins and others.

Who was Ella Fitzgerald? How did she influence jazz?And what can we learn from her incredible life story? 

Copyright 2024 WAMU 88.5

Avery Jessa Chapnick