Mel Powell was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer, the founding dean of the music department at the California Institute of the Arts. He served as a music educator for over 40 years, first at Mannes College of Music and Queens College Yale University, at CalArts. During his early career he worked as a jazz pianist. Mel Powell was born Melvin D. Epstein on February 12, 1923, in The Bronx, New York City to Russian Jewish parents, Milton Epstein and Mildred Mark Epstein, he began playing piano at age four. A passionate baseball fan, his home was within sight of Yankee Stadium. A hand injury while playing baseball as a boy, convinced him to pursue music instead of sports as a career. Powell dreamed of life as a concert pianist until his older brother took him to see jazz pianist Teddy Wilson play, to a concert featuring Benny Goodman. In a 1987 interview with The New Yorker magazine Powell said "I had never heard anything as ecstatic as this music", prompting a shift from classical to jazz piano.
By the age of 14 Powell was performing jazz professionally around New York City. As early as 1939, he was working with Bobby Hackett, George Brunies, Zutty Singleton, as well as writing arrangements for Earl Hines, he changed his last name from Epstein to Powell in 1941 shortly before joining Benny Goodman's band. Powell's style was rooted in the stride style, the direct precursor to swing piano. One composition from his Goodman years, The Earl, is his best-known from that time, it is notable that the song—dedicated to Earl "Fatha" Hines, one of Powell's piano heroes—was recorded without a drummer. After nearly two years with Goodman, Powell played with the CBS radio band under director Raymond Scott before Uncle Sam came calling. With World War II at its height, Powell was drafted into the U. S. Army, but fought his battles from a piano stool, having been assigned to Glenn Miller's Army Air Force Band from 1943 to 1945. Near the war's end, Powell was stationed in Paris, where he played with Django Reinhardt, returned for a brief stint in Goodman's band again after being discharged from the military.
It was around this time, the mid-to-late 1940s, that Powell moved to Hollywood and ventured into providing music for movies and cartoons—notably Tom and Jerry. In 1948 he played himself in the movie A Song Is Born, appearing along with many other famous jazz players, including Louis Armstrong, it was during his time in Hollywood that he married actress Martha Scott. Mel Powell had a major health crisis in the late 1940s. Confined to a wheelchair for some time walking with aid of a cane, the illness ended his ability to work as a traveling musician again with Goodman or other bands, prompted Powell to devote himself to music composition rather than performance. From 1948 to 1952 he studied at Yale University with German composer and music theorist Paul Hindemith. In 1954 he recorded the jazz album Thigamigig, including a piano/trumpet/drums track, selected by Art Clokey for his claymation short Gumbasia in 1955. At first sticking to traditional neo-Classical styles of composition, Powell explored atonality, or "non-tonal" music as he called it, as well as the serialism advocated by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg.
After receiving his degree in 1952, Powell embarked on a career as a music educator, first at Mannes College of Music and Queens College in his native New York City returning to Yale in 1958, succeeding Hindemith as chair of the composition faculty and director of one of the nation's first electronic music studios. Powell composed several electronic pieces in the 1960s, some of which were performed at the Electric Circus in New York's East Village, a venue that saw performances by groundbreaking rock music acts like The Velvet Underground and The Grateful Dead, but Powell did not turn his back on jazz. While teaching in the 1950s, he played piano and recorded music with Benny Goodman again, as well as on his own. Powell composed for orchestra, chorus and chamber ensemble throughout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. In 1969 he returned to California to serve as founding dean of the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. After serving as Provost of the Institute from 1972 to 1976 he was appointed the Roy O. Disney Professor of music, taught at the Institute until shortly before his death.
Notable students include composer Ann Millikan. See: List of music students by teacher: N to Q#Mel Powell. In 1987 Powell joined other music greats for a jazz festival on the cruise ship SS Norway, playing alongside Benny Carter, Howard Alden, Milt Hinton, Louie Bellson and others. One performance has been documented on the CD The Return of Mel Powell; the recording includes 20 minutes of Powell discussing his reasons for leaving jazz. In an interview with The New Yorker magazine jazz critic Whitney Balliett, Powell said: "I have decided that when I retire I will think through my decision to leave jazz – with the help of Freud and Jung. At the moment, I suspect it was this: I had done what I felt I had to do in jazz. I had decided, and I had decided that it was a young man's music a black music. The endless repetition of material in the Goodman band – playing the same tunes day after day and night after night – got to me; that repetition tended to kill spontaneity, the heart of jazz and which can give a lifetime's nourishment."
In 1990 Powell received his highest career achievement, the Pulitzer Prize in Music, for his work Duplicates: A Concerto for Two Pianos and
Woodrow Charles Herman was an American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist and big band leader. Leading various groups called "The Herd", Herman came to prominence in the late 1930s and was active until his death in 1987, his bands played music, cutting edge and experimental for its time. Herman was born Woodrow Charles Thomas Herman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 16, 1913, his parents were Myrtle Herman. His mother was Polish, his father had a deep love for show business and this influenced Woody Herman at an early age. As a child he worked as a singer and tap-dancer in Vaudeville started to play the clarinet and saxophone by age 12. In 1931, he met an aspiring actress. Woody Herman joined the Tom Gerun band and his first recorded vocals were "Lonesome Me" and "My Heart's at Ease". Herman performed with the Harry Sosnick orchestra, Gus Arnheim and Isham Jones. Isham Jones wrote many popular songs, including "It Had to Be You" and at some point was tiring of the demands of leading a band. Jones wanted to live off the residuals of his songs.
Woody Herman's first band became known for its orchestrations of the blues, was sometimes billed as "The Band That Plays The Blues". This band recorded for the Decca label, at first serving as a cover band, doing songs by other Decca artists; the first song recorded was "Wintertime Dreams" on November 6, 1936. In January 1937 George T. Simon closed a review of the band with the words: "This Herman outfit bears watching. After two and a half years on the label, the band had its first hit, "Woodchopper's Ball" recorded in 1939. Woody Herman remembered that "Woodchopper's Ball" started out at first. "t was a sleeper. But Decca kept re-releasing it, over a period of three or four years it became a hit, it sold more than five million copies—the biggest hit I had." In January 1942, Herman would have his highest rated single, singing Harold Arlen's "Blues in the Night" backed by his orchestra. Other hits for the band include "Blue Flame" and "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me". Musicians and arrangers that stood out included Cappy Lewis on trumpet and saxophonist/arranger Deane Kincaide.
"The Golden Wedding", arranged by James "Jiggs" Noble, was notable for its extended drum solo by Frankie Carlson. In jazz, swing was being replaced by bebop. Dizzy Gillespie, a trumpeter and one of the originators of bop, wrote three arrangements for Woody Herman, "Woody'n You", "Swing Shift" and "Down Under"; these were arranged in 1942. "Woody'n You" was not used at the time. "Down Under" was recorded July 24, 1942. The fact that Herman commissioned Gillespie to write arrangements for the band and that Herman hired Ralph Burns as a staff arranger, heralded a change in the style of music the band was playing. In February 1945, the band started a contract with Columbia Records. Herman liked what drew many artists to Columbia, Liederkranz Hall, at the time the best recording venue in New York City; the first side Herman recorded was "Laura", the theme song of the 1944 movie of the same name. Herman's version was so successful that it made Columbia hold from release the arrangement that Harry James had recorded days earlier.
The Columbia contract coincided with a change in the band's repertoire. The 1944 group, which he called the First Herd, was famous for its progressive jazz; the First Herd's music was influenced by Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Its lively, swinging arrangements, combining bop themes with swing rhythm parts, were admired; as of February 1945 the personnel included Bill Harris, Sonny Berman, Pete Candoli, Billy Bauer, Ralph Burns, Davey Tough and Flip Phillips. On February 26, 1945 in New York City, the Woody Herman band recorded "Caldonia". Neal Hefti and Ralph Burns collaborated on the arrangement of "Caldonia". "Ralph caught Louis Jordan in an act and wrote the opening twelve bars and the eight bar tag." "But the most amazing thing on the record was a soaring eight bar passage by trumpets near the end." These eight measures have wrongly been attributed to a Gillespie solo, but were in fact written by Neal Hefti. George T. Simon compares Hefti with Gillespie in a 1944 review for Metronome magazine saying, "Like Dizzy, Hefti has an abundance of good ideas, with which he has aided Ralph Burns immensely".
In 1946 the band won Down Beat, Metronome and Esquire polls for best band, nominated by their peers in the big band business. Along with the high acclaim for their jazz and blues performances, classical composer Igor Stravinsky wrote the Ebony Concerto, one in a series of compositions commissioned by Herman with solo clarinet, for this band. Herman recorded this work in the Belock Recording Studio in Bayside New York. Throughout the history of jazz, there have always been musicians who sought to combine it with classical music. Ebony Concerto is one in a long line of music from the twenties to the present day that seeks to do this. Herman said about the Concerto: " delicate and a sad piece." Stravinsky felt. Saxophonist Flip Philips said, "During the rehearsal there was a passage I had to play there and I was playing it soft, Stravinsky said'Play it, here I am!' and I
Alton Glenn Miller was an American big-band trombonist, arranger and bandleader in the swing era. He was the best-selling recording artist from leading one of the best-known big bands. Miller's recordings include "In the Mood", "Moonlight Serenade", "Pennsylvania 6-5000", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "A String of Pearls", "At Last", " Kalamazoo", "American Patrol", "Tuxedo Junction", "Elmer's Tune", "Little Brown Jug". In just four years Glenn Miller scored 16 number-one records and 69 top ten hits—more than Elvis Presley and the Beatles did in their careers. While he was traveling to entertain U. S. troops in France during World War II, Miller's aircraft disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel. The son of Mattie Lou and Lewis Elmer Miller, Glenn Miller was born in Iowa, he attended grade school in North Platte in western Nebraska. In 1915, his family moved to Missouri. Around this time, he had made enough money from milking cows to buy his first trombone and played in the town orchestra.
He played cornet and mandolin, but he switched to trombone by 1916. In 1918 the Miller family moved again, this time to Fort Morgan, where he went to high school. In the fall of 1919 he joined the high-school football team, which won the Northern Colorado American Football Conference in 1920, he was named Best Left End in Colorado. During his senior year he became interested in "dance band music", he was so taken. By the time he graduated from high school in 1921 he had decided to become a professional musician. In 1923 Miller entered the University of Colorado in Boulder, he spent most of his time away from school, attending auditions and playing any gigs he could get, including with Boyd Senter's band in Denver. After failing three out of five classes, he dropped out of school to pursue a career in music, he studied the Schillinger System with Joseph Schillinger, under whose tutelage he composed what became his signature theme, "Moonlight Serenade". In 1926 Miller toured with several groups, landing a good spot in Ben Pollack's group in Los Angeles.
He played for Victor Young, which allowed him to be mentored by other professional musicians. In the beginning he was the main trombone soloist of the band, but when Jack Teagarden joined Pollack's band in 1928, Miller found that his solos were cut drastically. He realized that his future was in composing, he had a songbook published in Chicago in 1928 entitled Glenn Miller's 125 Jazz Breaks for Trombone by the Melrose Brothers. During his time with Pollack, he wrote several arrangements, he wrote his first composition, "Room 1411", with Benny Goodman, Brunswick Records released it as a 78 under the name "Benny Goodman's Boys". In 1928, when the band arrived in New York City, he sent for and married his college sweetheart, Helen Burger, he was a member of Red Nichols's orchestra in 1930, because of Nichols, he played in the pit bands of two Broadway shows, Strike Up the Band and Girl Crazy. The band included Gene Krupa. During the late 1920s and early 1930s Miller worked as a freelance trombonist in several bands.
On a March 21, 1928 Victor Records session he played alongside Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Joe Venuti in the All-Star Orchestra directed by Nat Shilkret. He arranged and played trombone on several significant Dorsey Brothers sessions for OKeh Records, including "The Spell of the Blues", "Let's Do It", "My Kinda Love", all with Bing Crosby on vocals. On November 14, 1929, vocalist Red McKenzie hired Miller to play on two records: "Hello, Lola" and "If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight". Beside Miller were saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, guitarist Eddie Condon, drummer Gene Krupa. In the early-to-mid-1930s, Miller worked as a trombonist and composer for The Dorsey Brothers, first when they were a Brunswick studio group and when they formed an ill-fated orchestra. Miller composed the songs "Annie's Cousin Fanny", "Dese Dem Dose", "Harlem Chapel Chimes", "Tomorrow's Another Day" for the Dorsey Brothers Band in 1934 and 1935. In 1935, he assembled an American orchestra for British bandleader Ray Noble, developing the arrangement of lead clarinet over four saxophones that became a characteristic of his big band.
Members of the Noble band included Claude Thornhill, Bud Freeman, Charlie Spivak. Miller made his first movie appearance in The Big Broadcast of 1936 as a member of the Ray Noble Orchestra performing "Why Stars Come Out at Night"; the film included performances by Dorothy Dandridge and the Nicholas Brothers, who would appear with Miller again in two movies for Twentieth Century Fox in 1941 and 1942. In 1937, Miller formed his first band. After failing to distinguish itself from the many bands of the time, it broke up after its last show at the Ritz Ballroom in Bridgeport, Connecticut on January 2, 1938. Benny Goodman said in 1976: In late 1937, before his band became popular, we were both playing in Dallas. Glenn came to see me, he asked, "What do you do? How do you make it?" I said, "Glenn. You just stay with it." Discouraged, Miller returned to New York. He realized that he needed to develop a unique sound, decided to make the clarinet play a melodic line with a tenor saxophone holding the same note, while three other saxophones harmonized within a single octave.
George T. Simon discovered. Miller hired Schwartz, but instead had him play lead clarinet. According to Simon, "Willie's tone and way of playing provided a fullness and richness so distinctive that none of the
Francis Joseph "Muggsy" Spanier was a prominent jazz cornet player based in Chicago. Spanier was born in Chicago. At 13 he began playing the cornet and played with Elmer Schoebel in 1921, he borrowed the sobriquet of Muggsy from John "Muggsy" McGraw, the manager of the New York Giants baseball team. In the early 1920s, he played with The Bucktown Five. In 1929 he became a member of a band led by Ted Lewis spent two years with Ben Pollack. After an illness, he assembled His Ragtime Band. In 1939 the band recorded several sessions of Dixieland standards for Bluebird Records that were called The Great Sixteen and influenced a Dixieland revival; the band's members included George Brunies, Rod Cless, George Zack or Joe Bushkin, Ray McKinstry, Nick Ciazza or Bernie Billings, Bob Casey. His other most important ventures were the quartet he co-led with Sidney Bechet in 1940. From 1940–1941 he played with Bob Crosby. In the 1950s, he moved to the West Coast and joined Earl Hines's band from 1957–1959. After touring Europe, he retired in 1964.
The Ragtime Band's theme tune was "Relaxin' at the Touro", named for Touro Infirmary, the New Orleans hospital where Spanier had been treated for a perforated ulcer early in 1938. At the point of death, he was saved by Dr. Alton Ochsner who drained the fluid and eased his weakened breathing. One of Spanier's Dixieland numbers is entitled, "Oh Doctor Ochsner."'Relaxin' at the Touro' is a straightforward 12-bar blues with a piano introduction and coda by Joe Bushkin. The pianist recalled, many years later: "When I joined Muggsy in Chicago we met to talk it over at the Three Deuces, where Art Tatum was appearing. Muggsy was now playing opposite Fats Waller at the Sherman hotel and we worked out a kind of stage show for the two bands. Muggsy was a man of great integrity. We played a blues in C and I made up a little intro. After that I was listed as the co-composer of'Relaxin' at the Touro'". In 1950, in Chicago, Spanier's second marriage was to Ruth Gries O’Connell, he became the stepfather of her sons, Hollywood film writer and director Tom Gries and Charles Joseph Gries professionally known as Buddy Charles, a pop and jazz vocalist and pianist in Chicago.
When Spanier was performing at a concert in Chicago in 1956, Buddy Charles was performing at the nearby Black Orchid nightclub. Spanier was heard to exclaim “that’s my boy.” Bert Whyatt, Muggsy Spanier: The Lonesome Road
Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Jacksonville Beach is a coastal resort city in Duval County, United States. It was incorporated on May 22, 1907, as Pablo Beach, would change its name to Jacksonville Beach in 1925; the city is part of group of communities collectively referred to as the Jacksonville Beaches. These communities include Mayport, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach; when the city of Jacksonville consolidated with Duval County in 1968, Jacksonville Beach, together with Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Baldwin, voted to retain their own municipal governments. As a result, citizens of Jacksonville Beach are eligible to vote in mayoral election for the City of Jacksonville; as of the 2010 census, Jacksonville Beach had a total population of 21,362. The area around present-day Jacksonville Beach was first settled by Spanish settlers. Spanish missions were established from Mayport to St. Augustine. Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain by treaty in 1763, only to have Spain regain it again, a final time in 1821 to the United States.
American river pilots and fishermen came to Hazard, present-day Mayport, established a port. In the late 19th century, developers began to see the potential in Duval County's oceanfront as a resort. In 1883 a group of investors formed the Jacksonville and Atlantic Railroad with the intention of developing a resort community that would be connected to Jacksonville by rail; the first settlers were William Edward Scull, a civil engineer and surveyor, his wife Eleanor Kennedy Scull. They lived in a tent two blocks east of Pablo Historical Park. A second tent was the general post office. On August 22, 1884, Mrs. Scull was appointed postmaster. Mail was dispatched by horse and buggy up the beach to Mayport, from there to Jacksonville by steamer; the Sculls built the first house in 1884 on their tent site. The settlement was named Ruby for their first daughter. On May 13, 1886, the town was renamed Pablo Beach after the San Pablo River. In 1885, the San Pablo Diego Beach Land Co. sold town lots ranging from $50 to $100 each along with 5 to 10 acres lots from $10 to $20 per acre within 3 miles of the new seaside resort "Pablo Beach".
In September 1892, work on the wagon road to Pablo Beach was begun. The first resort hotel called the Murray Hall Hotel was established in mid 1886 but on August 7, 1890 it was destroyed in a fire. By 1900 the railway company began to have financial difficulties and Henry Flagler took over as part of his Florida East Coast Railway. In late 1900 the railway was extended to Mayport; the Spanish–American War broke out in 1898. The 3rd Nebraska arrived July 1898, for training and embarkation, they encamped at Pablo Beach. They were led by William Jennings Bryan. After flooding in the camp at Pablo Beach the 3rd Nebraska moved to downtown Jacksonville; the amusement park phase of Jacksonville Beach began in 1905 with The Pavilion, expanded and called Little Coney Island. It was a popular tourist attraction that had such entertainment as a dance floor, swim room, bowling alley, roller skate rinks. An issue with contracting and constant weathering of its wooden structure aged Little Coney Island causing it to be torn down in 1925.
On June 15, 1925, the name Pablo Beach was changed to Jacksonville Beach. The Shad's Pier was created in 1922 with help by Martin Williams. Around the same time W. H. Adams, Sr. created the Ocean View Pavilion amusement park on the former site of the Murray Hall Hotel. Adams wanted to create a larger roller coaster than the one at Little Coney Island, his vision resulted in a 93-feet high coaster. The location of the coaster by the beach made it vulnerable to damage and was deemed unsafe; the coaster was deconstructed to a smaller coaster. The deconstruction of the larger coaster hurt business at the amusement park. By 1949 the Ocean View Pavilion was in decline and a fire destroyed it a few years later; the only amusement park in Jacksonville Beach today is Adventure Landing. The boardwalk declined in the 1950s due to games of chance. Driving on the beach was prohibited in 1979. Pablo Beach made aviation history on February 24, 1921, Lt. Wm. DeVoe Coney, in a transcontinental flight from San Diego, landed at Pablo Beach, having made the flight in 22 hours and 17 minutes, beating the old record, set two years earlier, by 3 hours and 32 minutes.
Coney's record was soon eclipsed on September 5, 1922, by Jimmy Doolittle piloting a De Havilland DH-4 biplane from Pablo Beach to San Diego in an elapsed time of 21 hours and 19 minutes. In 1968 most residents of Duval County voted to approve consolidation between the county and the City of Jacksonville. Jacksonville Beach, together with Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, the Westside community of Baldwin voted to retain their own municipal governments; as such they are not part of the City of Jacksonville, but receive county-level services from Jacksonville, vote for Jacksonville's mayor and City Council. Judy Van Zant, widow of lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd Ronnie Van Zant, her daughter Melody opened the Freebird Cafe in 1999. Freebird Live, as it became, was a popular music venue that became a staple for Jacksonville Beach for 16 years until its closure in 2016. In September 1999 Hurricane Floyd destroyed the Jacksonville Beach Pier. Five years the pier was rebuilt. In October 2016 Hurricane Matthew forced a mandatory evacuation for Jacksonville Beach.
Hurricane Matthew came 40 miles off the coast of Jacksonville Beach causing major flooding. The Jacksonville Beach Pier was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.0
Tony Scott (musician)
Tony Scott was an American jazz clarinetist and arranger known for an interest in folk music around the world. For most of his career he was held in high esteem in new-age music circles because of his decades-long involvement in music linked to Asian cultures and to meditation. Born in Morristown, New Jersey, Scott attended Juilliard School from 1940 to 1942. In the 1950s he worked with Billie Holiday, he had a young Bill Evans and Paul Motian as side-men on several albums released between 1957 and 1959. In the late 1950s he won on four occasions the Down Beat critics poll for clarinetist in 1955, 1957, 1958 and 1959, he was known for a more "cool" style than Buddy DeFranco. Despite this he remained little-known as the clarinet had been in eclipse in jazz since the emergence of bebop. In 1959 he left New York City, where he had been based, abandoned the United States for a time. In the 1960s he toured South and Southeast Asia; this led to his playing in a Hindu temple, spending time in Japan, releasing Music for Zen Meditation in 1964 for Verve Records.
In 1960 a Down Beat poll for Japan saw readers there name him best clarinetist while the United States preferred Buddy DeFranco. More he did a Japanese special on Buddhism and Jazz, although he continued to work with American jazz musicians and played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965. In the years following that he worked in Germany, at times in South America, he settled in Italy in the 1970s, working with Italian jazz musicians such as Franco D'Andrea and Romano Mussolini. He played the part of a Sicilian-American Mafia boss in Glauber Rocha's film Claro. In years he began showing an interest in Electronica and in 2002 his Hare Krishna was remixed by King Britt as a contribution to Verve Remixed. In 2010, a documentary film by the Italian director Franco Maresco about the life of Tony Scott was released titled Io sono Tony Scott, ovvero come l'Italia fece fuori il più grande clarinettista del jazz. 1953: Tony Scott Quartet, Complete Brunswick Sessions 1955: Scott's Fling 1956: Both Sides of Tony Scott 1956: The Touch of Tony Scott 1957: The Complete Tony Scott 1957: The Modern Art of Jazz 1957: Free Blown Jazz 1957: My Kind of Jazz 1957: Tony Scott Swinging in Sweden 1957: Tony Scott in South Africa 1957: Tony Scott In Concert, with Horst Jankowski trio 1959: Golden Moments 1959: I'll Remember 1959: Sung Heroes 1959: Clarinette enchantée 1964: Music for Zen Meditation 1967: Tony Scott 1967: Djanger Bali by Tony Scott and the Indonesian All Stars 1968: Music for Yoga Meditation and Other Joys 1971: 52nd St. Scene 1973: Manteca 1977: Meditation by Tony Scott featuring Jan Akkerman 1978: Boomerang by Tony Scott & The Traditional Jazz Studio 1989: Lush Life 2004: Tony Scott & The Mario Rusca Trio - The Old Lion Roars 2007: Talkingmoods 2007: A Jazz Life 2013: Love TransfusionUnder a Blanket Of Blue With Trigger Alpert Trigger Happy!
With John Lewis The Modern Jazz Society Presents a Concert of Contemporary Music With Mundell Lowe Porgy & Bess TV Action Jazz! With Carmen McRae Carmen McRae With the Metronome All-Stars Metronome All-Stars 1956 With Max Roach It's Christmas Again With Shirley Bunnie Foy Shirley Bunnie Foy Tony Scott's home page All Music
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