The vibraphone is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family. It consists of tuned metal bars, is played by holding two or four soft mallets and striking the bars. A person who plays the vibraphone is called a vibraharpist; the vibraphone resembles the xylophone and glockenspiel, one of the main differences between it and these instruments being that each bar is paired with a resonator tube that has a motor-driven butterfly valve at its upper end. The valves are mounted on a common shaft, which produces a vibrato effect while spinning; the vibraphone has a sustain pedal similar to that on a piano. With the pedal up, the bars produce a shortened sound. With the pedal down, they sound for several seconds; the vibraphone is used in jazz music, in which it plays a featured role and was a defining element of the sound of mid-20th-century "Tiki lounge" exotica, as popularized by Arthur Lyman. It is the second most popular solo keyboard percussion instrument in classical music, after the marimba, is part of the standard college-level percussion performance education.
It is a standard instrument in the modern percussion section for orchestras and concert bands. The first musical instrument called "vibraphone" was marketed by the Leedy Manufacturing Company in the United States in 1921. However, this instrument differed in significant details from the instrument now called the vibraphone; the Leedy vibraphone achieved a degree of popularity after it was used in the novelty recordings of "Aloha'Oe" and "Gypsy Love Song" by vaudeville performer Louis Frank Chiha. This popularity led J. C. Deagan, Inc. in 1927 to ask its Chief Tuner, Henry Schluter, to develop a similar instrument. However, Schluter didn't just copy the Leedy design, he introduced several significant improvements: making the bars from aluminium instead of steel for a more "mellow" basic tone. Schluter's design was more popular than the Leedy design, has become the template for all instruments now called vibraphone. However, when Deagan began marketing Schluter's instrument in 1928, they called it the vibraharp.
The name derived from similar aluminum bars that were mounted vertically and operated from the "harp" stop on a theatre organ. Since Deagan trademarked the name, others were obliged to use the earlier "vibraphone" for their instruments incorporating the newer design; the name confusion continues to the present, but over time vibraphone became more popular than vibraharp. By 1974, the Directory of the D. C. Federation of Musicians listed 3 vibraharp players; the initial purpose of the vibraphone was to add to the large arsenal of percussion sounds used by vaudeville orchestras for novelty effects. This use was overwhelmed in the 1930s by its development as a jazz instrument; as of 2015, it retains its use as a jazz instrument, is established as a major keyboard percussion instrument used for solos, in chamber ensembles, in modern orchestral compositions. The use of the vibraphone in jazz was pioneered by Paul Barbarin, the drummer with Luis Russell's band, his playing can be heard on recordings by Henry "Red" Allen from July 1929, Barbarin played on the first recordings by Louis Armstrong to feature the instrument – "Rockin' Chair" and "Song of the Islands".
The first classical composer to use the vibraphone in one of his pieces was Alban Berg, who used it prominently in his opera Lulu from 1937. Outside of the United States, the Premier Drum Company of London, after experimenting with a variety of aluminum bar instruments more related to the glockenspiel that were called variations of “harpaphone”, moved to the production of the Schluter vibraphone design. Bergerault, of Ligueil, France began manufacturing vibraphones in the 1930s. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, each manufacturer attracted its own following in various specialties, but the Deagan vibraphones were the models preferred by many of the emerging class of specialist jazz players. Deagan struck endorsement deals with many of the leading players, including Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson; the Deagan company went out of business in the 1980s. Yamaha continues to make percussion instruments based on Deagan designs. In 1948, the Musser Mallet Company was founded by Clair Omar Musser, a designer at Deagan.
The Musser company continues to manufacture vibraphones as part of the Ludwig Drum Company. The standard modern instrument has a range of three octaves, from the F below middle C. Larger three-and-a-half or four octave models from the C below middle C are becoming more common. Unlike its cousin the xylophone, it is a non-transposing instrument written at concert pitch. However, composers write parts to sound an octave higher. In the 1930s several manufacturers made soprano vibraphones with a range C4 to C7, notably the Ludwig & Ludwig model B110 and the Deagan model 144. Deagan made a portable model that had a 2 1⁄2 octave range and resonators made of cardboard; the major components of a vibraphone are the bars, damper mechanism and the frame. Vibraphones are played with mallets. Vibraphone bars are made from aluminum bar stock, cut into blanks of pre-de
Ray Brown Jr.
Ray Brown Jr. is an American jazz and blues pianist and singer. The adopted son of Ray Brown and Ella Fitzgerald, he was born in New York City, to Fitzgerald's half-sister Frances. Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and many others were regular visitors during his childhood. After moving to California when he was 10, Ray discovered a passion for singing, he attended Beverly Hills High School where he sang with school groups which toured at local festivals and hospitals. His father arranged for him to study with jazz percussionists Bill Chuck Flores. Despite his jazz roots he admits. "I used to drive my parents crazy with this. I told my father a few years before he died, you know a lot of times I played that music'cause I just wanted to see the look on your face.". His mother's 1964 single, he moved to Seattle in 1971, studying with Bill Coleman Sr.. It was at this time. In the late 1980s Brown toured the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Japan and Guam performing in tours for the United States Department of Defense.
This is when his daughter, was conceived and born in Ketchikan, Alaska to Rebecca Judd. Like his famous parents, Brown says, he states, "I love to tour. I've been able to see a lot of the world and I just enjoyed being able to be with different types of people, different cultures and to see the world. It's just kind of broadened who I am as a person, which will filter down into the music, the influences." In 2001, Brown recorded his debut album Slow Down for Love on SRI Jazz, which reached the top 50 of the Gavin Report. His second album, Committed from the Heart, was released in 2003, his sound has been described as an adult contemporary pop sound layered with R&B. Brown wrote and arranged all the songs on both albums. Additionally in 2003, Brown debuted on the Las Vegas Strip, performing five nights a week in the Le Bistro Theater at the Riviera hotel and casino. In 2007 he released the album Stand by Me. In September 2008, Ray Brown Jr. released a duets album and Family, produced by Shelly Liebowitz, on SRI Jazz, a division of SRI Records.
Vocal artists on this album include Jane Monheit, Melba Moore, James Moody, Maria Muldaur, Dr. John, Dionne Warwick, Freda Payne, Sophie B. Hawkins, Paul Williams, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dave Somerville, Kim Hoyer, Sally Kellerman. Additional instrumental performances appear on some of the album tracks with artists David "Fathead" Newman, jazz vibraphonist Terry Gibbs. Included on the album is Brown's daughter Haylee singing "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", made famous by her grandmother. There is a bonus track with Brown's parents in a live version of "How High the Moon" with Ella Fitzgerald and Brown Jr. on vocals and Ray Brown playing bass. In 1998, Brown attended the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation ceremony honoring his mother, Ella Fitzgerald. In 2007, he appeared in a BBC documentary talking about his mother entitled Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song. In 2007, he attended the ceremony for the Ella Fitzgerald stamp produced by the United States Postal Service, he traveled to events commemorating. 2001 Slow Down for Love 2003 Committed from the Heart 2007 Stand by Me 2008 Friends and Family The SOS Band - S.
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader and singer. Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic and rhythmic complexity unheard in jazz, his combination of musicianship and wit made him a leading popularizer of the new music called bebop. His beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks, his light-hearted personality provided some of bebop's most prominent symbols. In the 1940s Gillespie, with Charlie Parker, became a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz, he taught and influenced many other musicians, including trumpeters Miles Davis, Jon Faddis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan, Chuck Mangione, balladeer Johnny Hartman. Scott Yanow wrote, "Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. One of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Gillespie was such a complex player that his contemporaries ended up being similar to those of Miles Davis and Fats Navarro instead, it was not until Jon Faddis's emergence in the 1970s that Dizzy's style was recreated Arguably Gillespie is remembered, by both critics and fans alike, as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time".
The youngest of nine children of James and Lottie Gillespie, Dizzy Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina. His father was a local bandleader, so instruments were made available to the children. Gillespie started to play the piano at the age of four. Gillespie's father died, he taught himself. From the night he heard his idol, Roy Eldridge, on the radio, he dreamed of becoming a jazz musician, he won a music scholarship to the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina which he attended for two years before accompanying his family when they moved to Philadelphia. Gillespie's first professional job was with the Frank Fairfax Orchestra in 1935, after which he joined the respective orchestras of Edgar Hayes and Teddy Hill, replacing Frankie Newton as second trumpet in May 1937. Teddy Hill's band was where Gillespie made his first recording, "King Porter Stomp". In August 1937 while gigging with Hayes in Washington D. C. Gillespie met a young dancer named Lorraine Willis who worked a Baltimore–Philadelphia–New York City circuit which included the Apollo Theater.
Willis was not friendly but Gillespie was attracted anyway. The two married on May 9, 1940, they remained married until his death in 1993. Gillespie stayed with Teddy Hill's band for a year left and free-lanced with other bands. In 1939, he joined Cab Calloway's orchestra, with which he recorded one of his earliest compositions, "Pickin' the Cabbage", in 1940. After a notorious altercation between the two men, Calloway fired Gillespie in late 1941; the incident is recounted by Gillespie and Calloway's band members Milt Hinton and Jonah Jones in Jean Bach's 1997 film, The Spitball Story. Calloway his adventuresome approach to soloing. According to Jones, Calloway referred to it as "Chinese music". During rehearsal, someone in the band threw a spitball. In a foul mood, Calloway blamed Gillespie, who refused to take the blame. Gillespie stabbed Calloway in the leg with a knife. Calloway had minor cuts on the wrist. After the two men were separated, Calloway fired Gillespie. A few days Gillespie tried to apologize to Calloway, but he was dismissed.
During his time in Calloway's band, Gillespie started writing big band music for Woody Herman and Jimmy Dorsey. He freelanced with a few bands, most notably Ella Fitzgerald's orchestra, composed of members of the Chick Webb's band. Gillespie did not serve in World War II. At his Selective Service interview, he told the local board, "in this stage of my life here in the United States whose foot has been in my ass?" He was classified 4-F. In 1943, he joined the Earl Hines band. Composer Gunther Schuller said... In 1943 I heard the great Earl Hines band which had Bird in all those other great musicians, they were playing all the flatted fifth chords and all the modern harmonies and substitutions and Gillespie runs in the trumpet section work. Two years I read that that was'bop' and the beginning of modern jazz... but the band never made recordings. Gillespie said of the Hines band, "eople talk about the Hines band being'the incubator of bop' and the leading exponents of that music ended up in the Hines band.
But people have the erroneous impression that the music was new. It was not; the music evolved from. It was the same basic music; the difference was in how you got from here to here to here... each age has got its own shit."Gillespie joined the big band of Hines' long-time collaborator Billy Eckstine, it was as a member of Eckstine's band that he was reunited with Charlie Parker, a fellow member. In 1945, Gillespie left Eckstine's band. A "small combo" comprised no more than five musicians, playing the trumpet, piano and drums. Bebop was known as the first modern jazz style. However, it was not viewed as positively as swing music was. Bebop was seen as an outgrowth of swing, not a revolution. Swing introduced a diversity of new musicians in the bebop era like Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke, Oscar Pettiford, Gillespie. Through these musicians, a new vocabulary of musical phrases was created. With Parker, Gillespie jammed at famous jazz clubs like Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House.
Parker's system held methods of adding ch
Atlantic Recording Corporation is an American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic earned a reputation as one of the most important American labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, soul by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding, its position was improved by its distribution deal with Stax. In 1967, Atlantic became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, now the Warner Music Group, expanded into rock and pop music with releases by Led Zeppelin and Yes. In 2004, Atlantic and its sister label. Craig Kallman is the chairman of Atlantic. Ahmet Ertegün served as founding chairman until his death on December 14, 2006, at age 83. In 1944, brothers Nesuhi and Ahmet Ertegun remained in the United States when their mother and sister returned to Turkey after the death of their father Munir Ertegun, Turkey's first ambassador to the U. S; the brothers were fans of jazz and rhythm & blues, amassing a collection of over 15,000 78 RPM records.
Ahmet ostensibly stayed in Washington to undertake post-graduate music studies at Georgetown University but immersed himself in the Washington music scene and entered the record business, enjoying a resurgence after wartime restrictions on the shellac used in manufacture. He convinced the family dentist, Dr. Vahdi Sabit, to invest $10,000 and hired Herb Abramson, a dentistry student. Abramson had worked as a part-time A&R manager/producer for the jazz label National Records, signing Big Joe Turner and Billy Eckstine, he had no interest in its most successful musicians. In September 1947, he sold his share in Jubilee to his partner, Jerry Blaine, invested $2,500 in Atlantic. Atlantic was run by Abramson and Ertegun. Abramson's wife Miriam ran the label's publishing company, Progressive Music, did most office duties until 1949 when Atlantic hired its first employee, bookkeeper Francine Wakschal, who remained with the label for the next 49 years. Miriam gained a reputation for toughness. Staff engineer Tom Dowd recalled, "Tokyo Rose was the kindest name some people had for her" and Doc Pomus described her as "an extraordinarily vitriolic woman".
When interviewed in 2009, she attributed her reputation to the company's chronic cash-flow shortage: "... most of the problems we had with artists were that they wanted advances, and, difficult for us... we were undercapitalized for a long time." The label's office in the Ritz Hotel in Manhattan proved too expensive, so they moved to a room in the Hotel Jefferson. In the early fifties, Atlantic moved from the Hotel Jefferson to offices at 301 West 54th St and to 356 West 56th St. Atlantic's first recordings were issued in late January 1948 and included "That Old Black Magic" by Tiny Grimes and "The Spider" by Joe Morris. In its early years, Atlantic concentrated on modern jazz although it released some country and western and spoken word recordings. Abramson produced "Magic Records", children's records with four grooves on each side, each groove containing a different story, so the story played would be determined by the groove in which the stylus happened to land. In late 1947, James Petrillo, head of the American Federation of Musicians, announced an indefinite ban on all recording activities by union musicians, this came into effect on January 1, 1948.
The union action forced Atlantic to use all its capital to cut and stockpile enough recordings to last through the ban, expected to continue for at least a year. Ertegun and Abramson spent much of the late 1940s and early 1950s scouring nightclubs in search of talent. Ertegun composed songs under the alias "A. Nugetre", including Big Joe Turner's hit "Chains of Love", recording them in booths in Times Square giving them to an arranger or session musician. Early releases included music by Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard, The Cardinals, The Clovers, Frank Culley, The Delta Rhythm Boys, Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Tiny Grimes, Al Hibbler, Earl Hines, Johnny Hodges, Jackie & Roy, Lead Belly, Meade Lux Lewis, Professor Longhair, Shelly Manne, Howard McGhee, Mabel Mercer, James Moody, Joe Morris, Art Pepper, Django Reinhardt, Pete Rugolo, Pee Wee Russell, Bobby Short, Sylvia Syms, Billy Taylor, Sonny Terry, Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Yancey, Sarah Vaughan, Mal Waldron, Mary Lou Williams. In early 1949, a New Orleans distributor phoned Ertegun to obtain Stick McGhee's "Drinking Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee", unavailable due to the closing of McGhee's previous label.
Ertegun knew Stick's younger brother Brownie McGhee, with whom Stick happened to be staying, so he contacted the McGhee brothers and re-recorded the song. When released in February 1949, it became Atlantic's first hit, selling 400,000 copies, reached No. 2 after spending six months on the Billboard R&B chart – although McGhee himself earned just $10 for the session. Atlantic's fortunes rose rapidly: recorded 187 songs were recorded in 1949, more than three times the amount from the previous two years, received overtures for a manufacturing and distribution deal with Columbia, which would pay Atlantic a 3% royalty on every copy sold. Ertegun asked about artists' royalties, which he paid, this surprised Columbia executives, who did not, the deal was scuttled. On the recommendation of broadcaster Willis Conover and Abramson visited Ruth Brown at the Crystal Caverns club in Washington and invited her to audition for Atlantic, she was injured in a car accident en route to New York City, but Atlantic supported her for nine months and signed her.
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years. Born in Washington, D. C. Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Although considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase "beyond category" as a liberating principle and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music rather than to a musical genre such as jazz; some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington's orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered to be among the best players in the idiom. Ellington melded them into the best-known orchestral unit in the history of jazz; some members stayed with the orchestra for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm recording format, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions.
Ellington recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol's "Caravan", "Perdido", which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. In the early 1940s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or suites, as well as additional short pieces. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major revival and embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in several films, scored several, composed a handful of stage musicals. Ellington was noted for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, for his eloquence and charisma, his reputation continued to rise after he died, he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in 1999. Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Ellington in Washington, D.
C. Both his parents were pianists. Daisy played parlor songs and James preferred operatic arias, they lived with his maternal grandparents at 2129 Ida Place, NW, in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D. C. Duke's father was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina, on April 15, 1879, moved to Washington, D. C. in 1886 with his parents. Daisy Kennedy was born in Washington, D. C. on January 4, 1879, the daughter of a former American slave. James Ellington made blueprints for the United States Navy; when Ellington was a child, his family showed racial pride and support in their home, as did many other families. African Americans in D. C. worked to protect their children from the era's Jim Crow laws. At the age of seven, Ellington began taking piano lessons from Marietta Clinkscales. Daisy surrounded her son with dignified women to reinforce his manners and teach him to live elegantly. Ellington's childhood friends noticed that his casual, offhand manner, his easy grace, his dapper dress gave him the bearing of a young nobleman, began calling him "Duke."
Ellington credited his friend Edgar McEntree for the nickname. "I think he felt that in order for me to be eligible for his constant companionship, I should have a title. So he called me Duke."Though Ellington took piano lessons, he was more interested in baseball. "President Roosevelt would come by on his horse sometimes, stop and watch us play", he recalled. Ellington went to Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, D. C, he gained his first job selling peanuts at Washington Senators baseball games. In the summer of 1914, while working as a soda jerk at the Poodle Dog Café, Ellington wrote his first composition, "Soda Fountain Rag", he created the piece by ear, as he had not yet learned to write music. "I would play the'Soda Fountain Rag' as a one-step, two-step, waltz and fox trot", Ellington recalled. "Listeners never knew. I was established as having my own repertoire." In his autobiography, Music is my Mistress, Ellington wrote that he missed more lessons than he attended, feeling at the time that playing the piano was not his talent.
Ellington started sneaking into Frank Holiday's Poolroom at the age of fourteen. Hearing the poolroom pianists play ignited Ellington's love for the instrument, he began to take his piano studies seriously. Among the many piano players he listened to were Doc Perry, Lester Dishman, Louis Brown, Turner Layton, Gertie Wells, Clarence Bowser, Sticky Mack, Blind Johnny, Cliff Jackson, Claude Hopkins, Phil Wurd, Caroline Thornton, Luckey Roberts, Eubie Blake, Joe Rochester, Harvey Brooks. Ellington began listening to, imitating ragtime pianists, not only in Washington, D. C. but in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, where he vacationed with his mother during the summer months. He would sometimes hear strange music played by those who could not afford much sheet music, so for variations, they played the sheets upside down. Henry Lee Grant, a Dunbar High School music teacher, gave him private lessons in harmony. With the additional guidance of Washington pianist and band leader Oliver "Doc" Perry, Ellington learned to read sheet music, project a professional style, improve his technique.
Ellington was inspired by his first encounters with stride pianists James P. Johnson and Luckey Roberts. In New York he took advice from Will Marion Cook, Fats Waller, Sidney Bechet. Ellington started to play gigs in cafés and clubs in and aro
Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, Lady Ella. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, intonation, a "horn-like" improvisational ability in her scat singing. After a tumultuous adolescence, Fitzgerald found stability in musical success with the Chick Webb Orchestra, performing across the country but most associated with the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, her rendition of the nursery rhyme "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" helped boost both her and Webb to national fame. After taking over the band when Webb died, Fitzgerald left it behind in 1942 to start her solo career, her manager was Moe Gale, co-founder of the Savoy, until she turned the rest of her career over to Norman Granz, who founded Verve Records to produce new records by Fitzgerald. With Verve she recorded some of her more noted works her interpretations of the Great American Songbook. While Fitzgerald appeared in movies and as a guest on popular television shows in the second half of the twentieth century, her musical collaborations with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, The Ink Spots were some of her most notable acts outside of her solo career.
These partnerships produced some of her best-known songs such as "Dream a Little Dream of Me", "Cheek to Cheek", "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall", "It Don't Mean a Thing". In 1993, she ended her nearly 60-year career with her last public performance. Three years she died at the age of 79 after years of declining health, her accolades included fourteen Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Fitzgerald was born on April 1917, in Newport News, Virginia, she was the daughter of Temperance "Tempie" Henry. Her parents lived together for at least two and a half years after she was born. In the early 1920s, Fitzgerald's mother and her new partner, a Portuguese immigrant named Joseph Da Silva, moved to Yonkers, in Westchester County, New York, her half-sister, Frances Da Silva, was born in 1923. By 1925, Fitzgerald and her family had moved to a poor Italian area, she began her formal education at the age of six and was an outstanding student, moving through a variety of schools before attending Benjamin Franklin Junior High School in 1929.
Starting in third grade, Fitzgerald admired Earl Snakehips Tucker. She performed for her peers on the way at lunchtime, she and her family were Methodists and were active in the Bethany African Methodist Episcopal Church, where she attended worship services, Bible study, Sunday school. The church provided Fitzgerald with her earliest experiences in music. Fitzgerald listened to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, The Boswell Sisters, she idolized the Boswell Sisters' lead singer Connee Boswell saying, "My mother brought home one of her records, I fell in love with it... I tried so hard to sound just like her."In 1932, when Fitzgerald was fifteen, her mother died from injuries received in a car accident. Her stepfather took care of her until April 1933; this swift change in her circumstances, reinforced by what Fitzgerald biographer Stuart Nicholson describes as rumors of "ill treatment" by her stepfather, leaves him to speculate that Da Silva might have abused her. Fitzgerald began skipping school, her grades suffered.
She worked as a lookout with a Mafia-affiliated numbers runner. She never talked publicly about this time in her life; when the authorities caught up with her, she was placed in the Colored Orphan Asylum in Riverdale in the Bronx. When the orphanage proved too crowded, she was moved to the New York Training School for Girls, a state reformatory school in Hudson, New York. While she seems to have survived during 1933 and 1934 in part from singing on the streets of Harlem, Fitzgerald made her most important debut at age 17 on November 21, 1934, in one of the earliest Amateur Nights at the Apollo Theater, she had intended to go on stage and dance, but she was intimidated by a local dance duo called the Edwards Sisters and opted to sing instead. Performing in the style of Connee Boswell, she sang "Judy" and "The Object of My Affection" and won first prize, she won the chance to perform at the Apollo for a week but because of her disheveled appearance, the theater never gave her that part of her prize.
In January 1935, Fitzgerald won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House. She was introduced to drummer and bandleader Chick Webb, who had asked his signed singer Charlie Linton to help find him a female singer. Although Webb was "reluctant to sign her...because she was gawky and unkempt, a'diamond in the rough,'" he offered her the opportunity to test with his band when they played a dance at Yale University. Met with approval by both audiences and her fellow musicians, Fitzgerald was asked to join Webb's orchestra and gained acclaim as part of the group's performances at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. Fitzgerald recorded several hit songs, including "Love and Kisses" and " You'll Have to Swing It", but it was her 1938 version of the nursery rhyme, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", a song she co-wrote, that brought her public acclaim. "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" became a major hit on the radio and was one of the biggest-selling records of the decade. Webb died of spinal tuberculosis on June 16, 1939, his band was renamed Ella and Her Famous Orchestra with Fitzgerald taking on the role of bandleader.
She recorded nearly 150 songs with Webb's orchestra between 1935 and 1942. In The New York Times obituary o