From: United States: New York, Virginia
Fields: Music Key Words/Phrases: Jazz singer
Fitzgerald, Ella (1918-1996), American jazz singer admired for her superlative musicianship and her skill in scat singing (singing improvised syllables while using the voice as an instrument). Born in Newport News, Virginia, and reared in a New York City orphanage, Fitzgerald was discovered at the age of 16, singing in a Harlem talent show. From 1934 until 1939 she sang with the Chick Webb Band, directing it for a time after the leader's death in 1939. In the mid-1940s, working with the American impresario Norman Granz, she toured Europe and Asia and performed in his Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts. In 1958 Fitzgerald appeared with the American jazz composer Duke Ellington at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She has also toured Europe frequently with the Oscar Peterson Trio. Among her later concert appearances was a performance at the 1985 Kool Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall. Her own compositions include "Oh, But I Do" and "You Showed Me the Way."