Ella Fitzgerald: The Bewitching Verve Years

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Cree Land Ella Fitzgerald: The Bewitching Verve Records Years She is eternally known as “The First Lady of Song.” Although Ella Fitzgerald initially wanted to be a dancer, once she sang in and won the Wednesday Amateur Night at the Apollo, she had found her calling. Ella fully immersed herself in her music. It was not just what she did for a living; Ella literally was music all day long. She was quoted as saying: "The only thing better than singing is more singing." With a voice that sounded like a grown woman and a little girl, she took a song and made it uniquely her own. She was well known for her improvisation and the way she turned “scat” singing into an art form. She collaborated with some of the best in jazz including Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Dizzie Gillespie, and her idol Louis Armstrong. Her career spanned six decades and she created some of the most incredible pop and jazz music ever made. Much of this greatness was done during her time at Verve Records under the management of Norman Granz. Norman Granz had no musical background; all he had was a love of jazz music and ambition. He parlayed that into a job as a promoter. It was his genius Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) productions lead to his initial business dealings with Ella who was able to make an even bigger name for herself through these performances which began in 1949. At the time she was still signed with Moe Gale and Decca Records, who had almost complete creative control over what Ella sang. While her shows were always incredible, critics felt that the songs she sang left much to be desired. She sang many of her earlier pop hits such as “Old Mother Hubbard,” “Mr. Paganini,” and “A Little Bird Told Me.” These songs were not bad, but they were silly songs that didn’t showcase Ella’s maturing ability. The execs at Decca would say that songs like those were necessary to pay the bills so

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