The best phrasing.
Entertaining and remarkably versatile scatting.
Creative arrangements. (Including “forgotten words” arrangements and some of those iconic scat solos)
Deep respect and for the American Popular song.
The sweetest, most flexible voice of the recorded era.
There is virtually nothing Ella Fitzgerald couldn’t sing well. Her vast recorded legacy is a treasure trove and the first place to look when learning anything from the jazz canon.
She was roughly a contemporary of Leonard Bernstein, and I think her influence on music is every bit as important.
In our histrionic, hyper-emotive era, Ella is sometimes lightly disparaged as not engaged, because she kept things low-key. But her lyric interpretation is powerful, just subtle.
Ella should be a household name – students should no more graduate without knowing Ella Fitzgerald than they should without knowing Beethoven or Mozart.
Yesterday was her 100th Birthday – if you missed celebrating it in class, why not rectify that over the next few days.
My starting points: