It's been more than a decade since the jazz world lost one of its brightest stars, Ella Fitzgerald. But, as VOA's Doug Levine tells us, her legacy lives on with a new all-star tribute album, We All Love Ella - Celebrating The First Lady Of Song.
Linda Ronstadt, singing "Miss Otis Regrets," proves that you don't have to be a jazz singer to love Ella. And you don't even have to be a singer. While there have been many instrumental tributes to Ella over the years, it's the vocal tributes that go straight to the heart of an Ella Fitzgerald song.
Listening to Etta James' interpretation of "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" leaves little doubt that Ella transcended time, place and style.
Ella's arrival on the jazz scene came as the big band era was winding down. Although she made numerous recordings with The Chick Webb Orchestra in the late-1930s, her solo career took off in earnest when she signed with Decca Records in 1942. Influenced by bandleader Dizzy Gillespie, Ella began "scat" singing, a style she once said she learned by listening to the horns in the band. Her eight songbook albums, based on the works of the Great American Songbook composers, brought her fame for years to come.
Gladys Knight takes a page out of the George and Ira Gershwin songbook as did Ella on "Someone To Watch Over Me."
The new tribute album We All Love Ella -Celebrating The First Lady Of Song, brings together a diverse lineup: from Queen Latifah singing "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" and k.d. lang's version of "Angel Eyes," to jazz standards by Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves and Chaka Khan. Natalie Cole reprises one of Ella's best-known hits, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket."