The First Lady Of Song Honored With Several Album Releases and Exhibits Exploring Her Extraordinary Legacy and Remarkable Career
LOS ANGELES, March 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Verve Label Group and UMe are pleased to announce some of the major initiatives confirmed as part of this year’s Ella 100 centennial celebration honoring one of the most beloved and influential vocalists of all time, Ella Fitzgerald. Throughout 2017 to April 2018, the 100th anniversary of Fitzgerald’s birthday (April 25, 1917) will be celebrated across the world with prestigious exhibits, a trove of new music releases and myriad independent tributes and concerts.
Fitzgerald’s remarkable career and extraordinary legacy will be the focus of several exhibitions and events at institutions throughout the United States. In Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, which since 1997 has housed memorabilia of Fitzgerald’s demonstrating the scope of her achievements and character, will open a new display titled First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald at 100 on April 1st, kicking off Jazz Appreciation Month. The year-long exhibit will feature awards, letters, sheet music and costumes from Fitzgerald’s archives as well as videos of her performances. The Library of Congress, home to the Ella Fitzgerald Collection, an archive that consists of Fitzgerald’s entire music library and thousands of scores, parts, lyric sheets, and arrangements of works performed and/or recorded by Fitzgerald, will celebrate Lady Ella with a concert by award-winning singer Dianne Reeves on March 31. On the day of her centennial, noted jazz historian and Senior Music Specialist Larry Appelbaum will lead a multi-media homage to the beloved singer.
The GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles will celebrate the life, music and charitable legacy of the 13-time GRAMMY® winner and Recording Academy® Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, with the opening of a new exhibit titled Ella at 100: Celebrating the Artistry of Ella Fitzgerald. Opening on what would have been Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday, April 25, 2017, the all-encompassing exhibit will commemorate the late icon with rare recordings, photos, personal telegram correspondences, wardrobe pieces such as her well-known Don Loper beaded gown and her GRAMMY Awards, all on loan from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. Fitzgerald holds the distinction of being the first African-American to win a GRAMMY® Award: In 1958 at the inaugural ceremony, she won two awards for her vocal performances on Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Irving Berlin Song Book and Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Song Book. Ella at 100: Celebrating the Artistry of Ella Fitzgerald will be on display in the GRAMMY Museum’s Mike Curb Gallery on the fourth floor through fall 2017.
Fitzgerald’s Song Book recordings, widely considered her greatest achievement and a cornerstone of 20th century recorded popular music, are the focal point for the Great American Songbook Foundation’s recently opened exhibit, Ella Sings The Songbook. Located in the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Ind., the exhibit, which runs until October, shines a spotlight on the classic recordings Fitzgerald made with Norman Granz at Verve between 1956 and 1964. Historic photos, sheet music, magazines and other artifacts, culled from both the foundation’s own archives and on loan from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, tell the story of these career-changing albums. The exhibit also includes an interactive multimedia station with video of live international performances and more than 30 audio recordings. In conjunction with the standing exhibit, the foundation has also assembled a traveling display with educational materials that will be available on loan to local schools and community groups. For more information, contact the foundation at (317) 844-2251 or info@TheSongbook.org.
Verve and UMe will celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial with a slate of exciting releases throughout the year and into 2018. On April 21, 100 of her most popular songs will be released as a new 4CD box set titled 100 Songs For A Centennial. The collection, which will also be available digitally, spans Fitzgerald’s Decca and Verve years, beginning with her earliest recordings with Chick Webb and his orchestra in 1936 and culminating with the GRAMMY® Award-winning “Mack The Knife,” her famous live recording from 1960’s Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife. Some of the many highlights include “Summertime,” “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” Pre-order 100 Songs For A Centennial here: https://UMe.lnk.to/100SongsCent.
Also on April 21, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Books, a collaboration with Nelson Riddle that is highly regarded as the pinnacle of her legendary Song Book series, will be released as a limited edition 6LP vinyl box set. A replica of the rare 5LP set originally released in 1959, the Ella 100 edition recreates for the first time since its initial release the original stereo box set on vinyl, the originally included five lithographs by French impressionist painter Bernard Buffet, as well as the hardcover book, Words And Music, which for this set has been updated with additional historical information and an afterword by noted author David Ritz. The 2017 collection was newly mastered by Ron McMaster at Capitol Studios in Hollywood where the album was originally recorded in 1959 under the supervision of Verve Records founder Norman Granz. A sixth LP enlarges the original 10-inch instrumental EP with orchestra tracks on Side One and additional material from the sessions on Side Two. One of the bonus tracks, a mono alternate take of “Oh, Lady Be Good!,” is on vinyl for the first time. The box set is available exclusively at UDiscover: https://UMe.lnk.to/GershwinSB6LP. View the behind-the-scenes album trailer here: https://youtu.be/5oZKdy3KM6M.
Later in the year, all of Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong’s beloved duets, combining for the first time their Decca singles with three ageless Verve albums and bonus tracks, will be released as a 4CD/digital set titled Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Ella & Louis Duets. Further on, Verve will release a new album featuring Fitzgerald’s classic vocal recordings accompanied by new orchestral arrangements by the London Symphony Orchestra.
In an effort to present Fitzgerald’s music in the best possible fidelity, the eight classic albums that make up the Ella Fitzgerald Song Books were made available on February 17 in a variety of high-resolution audio formats. The albums, which include Fitzgerald interpreting work by the most beloved composers of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway and Hollywood – Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer and Rodgers & Hart – are available individually and for the first time as a hi-res audio bundle as Ella Fitzgerald: The Complete Original Song Books. Each album’s cover art, inconsistent in all previous digital releases, has been restored to the original design and the albums are in the original sequence. A showcase for Fitzgerald’s underappreciated talents as well as a celebration of America’s great composers, the Song Book series debuted in 1956 with Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book and launched Verve Records.
Some of Fitzgerald’s most cherished earliest recording will be brought into the digital age when the 300 singles she recorded for Decca from 1935-1955, nearly three-quarters of which never appeared on an album, will be made available digitally in the form they were released (A side/B side) for the first time on March 24. With more than half the tracks making their digital debut, the mammoth collection will be divided into four volumes that will encapsulate Fitzgerald’s two-decade-long Decca career. Vol. 1, 1935-1939 includes songs teenaged Ella recorded as the featured singer fronting the world-renowned Chick Webb Orchestra while Vol. 2, 1939-1941 features 50 tracks credited to Ella and Her Famous Orchestra, when she took over the Chick Webb Orchestra following Webb’s untimely death at age 30. Vol. 3 1942-1949 covers the 1940s, when Fitzgerald formally became a Decca solo artist in her mid-twenties and Vol. 4 1950-1955 chronicles the first half of the 1950s before Fitzgerald’s manager Norman Granz created Verve Records and brought her on board.
Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial will be celebrated across the globe at a host of official and unofficial tributes and concerts. Some of the key events include the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.’s two-night concert March 24-25 featuring acclaimed singers Sy Smith, Capathia Jenkins, and Montego Glover performing Fitzgerald’s songs with the NSO Pops. In New York City, Lincoln Center and the Apollo Theater, where Fitzgerald made her stage debut and won Amateur Night as a teenager in 1934, will each honor Fitzgerald with multiple nights of exciting programming. A continually updated list of events can be found at EllaFitzgeraldFoundation.org.
ABOUT ELLA FITZGERALD
Dubbed “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she sold more than 40 million albums and received most every honor a performer could dream of winning, including the Kennedy Center Honor (1979), the National Medal of Arts (1987), France’s Commander of Arts and Letters (1990), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1992) and 13 Grammy Awards. In 2007, the United States Postal Service honored Fitzgerald with a postage stamp.
In her six decade long career, the Queen of Jazz recorded more than 200 albums and roughly 2,000 songs, making her the most recorded female – and the second most recorded – performer in history. Among those recordings are works with some of history’s greatest musicians and legendary songwriters.
Fitzgerald’s distinct style has influenced multiple generations of singers and her work transcends generations and musical genres. She had an extraordinary vocal range and flexibility and possessed a preternatural gift for pitch, rhythmic sense and flawless diction. Immensely versatile, she could sing it all from jazz and bebop to ballads, swing, pop and rock. With an unparalleled ability for mimicry and “scat” singing, Fitzgerald also produced melodic lines that put her in the category of great instrumental improvisers. Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless.
Fitzgerald performed her last concert at Carnegie Hall in 1991. She passed away due to complications from Diabetes, dying in her Beverly Hills home on June 15, 1996.
The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation was created and funded in 1993 by Ella Fitzgerald in order to fulfill her desires to use the fruits of her success to help people of all races, cultures and beliefs. Fitzgerald hoped to make their lives more rewarding, and she wanted to foster a love of reading, as well as a love of music. In addition, she hoped to provide assistance to the at-risk and disadvantaged members of our communities – assistance that would enable them to achieve a better quality of life. The Board of Directors of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation seeks to continue Ella Fitzgerald’sgoals by making charitable grants serving four major areas of interest: Creating educational and other opportunities for children; fostering a love and knowledge of music; including assistance to students of music the provision of health care; food, shelter and counseling to those in need and specific areas of medical care and research with an emphasis on Diabetes, vision problems and heart disease.
The Complete Original Ella Fitzgerald Song Books: https://UMe.lnk.to/EllaCompleteHD
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book: https://UMe.lnk.to/EllaColePorterHDPR
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Rodgers & Hart Song Book: https://UMe.lnk.to/EllaRodgersHartHDPR
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Song Book: https://UMe.lnk.to/EllaDukeEllingtonHDPR
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Irving Berlin Song Book: https://UMe.lnk.to/EllaIrvingBerlinHDPR
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book: https://UMe.lnk.to/EllaGershwinHDPR
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Harold Arlen Song Book: https://UMe.lnk.to/EllaHaroldArlenHD
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Jerome Kern Song Book: https://UMe.lnk.to/EllaJeromeKernHDPR
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Johnny Mercer Song Book: https://UMe.lnk.to/EllaJohnnyMercerHDPR
100 SONGS FOR A CENTENNIAL TRACK LISTING
1. Sing Me A Swing Song (And Let Me Dance)
2. (If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have To Swing It
3. Dedicated To You
4. Big Boy Blue
5. I Got A Guy
6. A-Tisket, A-Tasket
7. I Found My Yellow Basket
8. McPherson Is Rehearsin’ (To Swing)
9. F.D.R. Jones
11. I Want The Waiter (With The Water)
13. Five O’clock Whistle
14. Cow-Cow Boogie
15. When My Sugar Walks Down The Street
16. I’m Making Believe
17. Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall
18. And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine
19. I’m Beginning To See The Light
20. It’s Only A Paper Moon
21. You Won’t Be Satisfied
22. Stone Cold Dead In The Market
23. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
24. My Happiness
25. Baby, It’s Cold Outside
1. Oh, Lady Be Good!
2. That Old Feeling
3. I Hadn’t Anyone Till You
4. Black Coffee
6. There Never Was A Baby Like My Baby
7. Walking By The River
8. Taking A Chance On Love
9. Until The Real Thing Comes Along
10. You Leave Me Breathless
11. Lullaby Of Birdland
12. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
13. It Might As Well Be Spring
14. Miss Otis Regrets
15. You Do Something To Me
16. I’ve Got You Under My Skin
17. Moonlight In Vermont
18. Cheek To Cheek
20. Thou Swell
21. I Wish I Were In Love Again
22. Blue Moon
23. (In My) Solitude
24. Comes Love
25. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
1. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off
2. In A Mellow Tone
3. I Never Had A Chance
4. What Will I Tell My Heart
6. Little White Lies
7. You Hit The Spot
8. You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me
9. Let’s Face The Music And Dance
10. Isn’t This A Lovely Day (To Be Caught In The Rain)
11. Puttin’ On The Ritz
12. You Make Me Feel So Young
13. Moonlight Becomes You
14. Let’s Fall In Love
15. My Old Flame
16. They All Laughed
17. I Can’t Be Bothered Now
18. My One And Only
19. I Got Rhythm
20. Stairway To The Stars
22. Hooray For Love
23. Out Of This World
24. Come Rain Or Come Shine
25. Stella By Starlight
1. I Hear Music
2. Love Me Or Leave Me
3. Hallelujah, I Love Him
4. The Very Thought Of You
5. Warm All Over
6. Almost Like Being In Love
7. All The Things You Are
8. A Fine Romance
10. Honeysuckle Rose
11. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
12. Tea For Two
13. Trouble In Mind
14. See See Rider
15. Can’t Buy Me Love
16. The Sweetest Sounds
18. Something’s Gotta Give
20. Cotton Tail
21. Duke’s Place
22. Something To Live For
23. Whisper Not
24. Time After Time
25. Mack The Knife
Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Books
Limited Edition Vinyl Box Set Track Listing
1. Sam And Delilah
2. But Not For Me
3. My One And Only
4. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off
5. Beginner’s Luck
1. Oh, Lady Be Good!
2. Nice Work If You Can Get It
3. Things Are Looking Up
4. Just Another Rhumba
5. How Long Has This Been Going On
1. ‘S Wonderful
2. The Man I Love
3. That Certain Feeling
4. By Strauss
5. Someone To Watch Over Me
6. The Real American Folk Song
1. Who Cares?
2. Looking For A Boy
3. They All Laughed
4. My Cousin In Milwaukee
5. Somebody From Somewhere
1. A Foggy Day
2. Clap Yo’ Hands
3. For You, For Me, For Everyone
4. Stiff Upper Lip
5. Boy Wanted
6. Strike Up The Band
2. I’ve Got A Crush On You
3. Bidin’ My Time
4. Aren’t You Kind Of Glad We Did?
5. Of Thee I Sing (Baby)
1. The Half Of It, Dearie, Blues
2. I Was Doing All Right
3. He Loves And She Loves
4. Love Is Sweeping The Country
5. Treat Me Rough
1. Love Is Here To Stay
2. Slap That Bass
3. Isn’t It A Pity?
4. Shall We Dance?
5. Love Walked In
6. You’ve Got What Gets Me
1. They Can’t Take That Away From Mwe
2. Embraceable You
3. I Can’t Be Bothered Now
4. Boy! Look What Love Has Done To Me
5. Fascinating Rhythm
1. Funny Face
3. Oh, So Nice
4. Let’s Kiss And Make Up
5. I Got Rhythm
Bonus Vol. 6
Side A – instrumentals originally on box set 10-inch
2. March Of The Swiss Soldiers
3. Fidgety Feet
4. Prelude I
5. Prelude II
6. Prelude III
Side B – all tracks not in original box set
1. Somebody Loves Me – from the album Get Happy!
2. Cheerful Little Earful – from the album Get Happy!
3. But Not For Me – 45rpm single version
4. Lorelei – alternate take/from pre-release sampler
5. Love Is Here To Stay – alternate take/from pre-release sampler
6. Oh, Lady Be Good! – alternate take/first time on vinyl
ellafitzgeraldfoundation.org | facebook.com/ellafitzgerald
CONTACT: Tim Plumley, Universal Music Enterprises: (310) 865 7797 | email@example.com; Julia Casey, Verve Label Group: (212) 331-2078 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.