Ella Fitzgerald: Profiles in Jazz

She Could Swing When confronted with the recordings and performances of Ella Fitzgerald, several questions come to mind. Could anyone outswing her? Was anyone a more exciting and inventive scat-singer? Did anyone else have a friendlier voice? And who else has sung definitive versions of over 100 standards, as opposed to a dozen? One could come up with a few candidates for one or two of these questions, but it would be difficult to come up with very many singers (other than perhaps Louis Armstrong and Sarah Vaughan) who can compete with Ella in all four areas. Do yourself a favor and go out of your way to hear Ella’s version of “C Jam Blues” from June 2, 1972, recorded for the Pablo label at the Santa Monica Civic. The concert was originally supposed to feature the singer and Count Basie’s orchestra, but producer Norman Granz surprised everyone by also inviting an all-star group of Jazz At The Philharmonic musicians including Oscar Peterson, Roy Eldridge, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Stan Getz and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. To climax the exciting night, for an encore everyone joined in on “C Jam Blues.” Ella scatted wildly, the horn players (plus trombonist Al Grey) took short solos, and Ella traded off individually with each of the five horn players. In all of the cases, something very spontaneous and humorous occurred. Ella imitated Grey’s trombone; she and Edison
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Scott Yanow

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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