Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb & His Orchestra: feat. Taft Jordan, Mario Bauza, sandy Williams, Claude Jones, Edgar Sampson, Louis Jordan, Hilton Jefferson, Ted McRae and others… 1936/39.
Dubbed "The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums.
Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella).
Classic performances by Ella Fitzgerald, the queen of the jazz/soul singers backed up by one of the biggest of the big band leaders, Count Basie, and his illustrious orchestra.
"The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the finest female jazz singer of all time (although some may vote for Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday). Blessed with a beautiful voice and a wide range, Fitzgerald could outswing anyone, was a brilliant scat singer, and had near-perfect elocution; one could always understand the words she sang. The one fault was that, since she always sounded so happy to be singing, Fitzgerald did not always dig below the surface of the lyrics she interpreted and she even made a downbeat song such as "Love for Sale" sound joyous.
The resulting 2 box set, unlike any other available today, groups together the main vocalists in the story of jazz from the first half of the 20th century. Each of these 20 CDs offers in more or less the same proportion, the purest of African-American song with gospel and blues singers, from truculent Ma Rainey to majestic Bessie Smith, sophisticated Sarah Vaughan to popular Louis Prima, the folk-related tones of Charlie Patton to the honeyed voice of Frank Sinatra.