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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ella!

I have always loved the music of Ms. Ella Fitzgerald. No one sings torch songs quite like Ms. Ella - but I have a special place in my heart for the 'Big Band Sound' and her renditions of the songs of Cole Porter, Gershwin, Irving Berlin, especially her collaborations with Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie.

She had a vocal range of three octaves, and nobody could 'scat' like "The First Lady of Song.

There are those of 'a certain age' who remember her commercial "Is it live or is it Memorex?" in which she sings one note and shatters a champagne glass. Fabulous!

I just heard her sing Irving Berlin's "It's a lovely day today" on NPR, which seemed absolutely perfect for this "lovely day for saying 'it's a lovely day'."

This clip of her singing "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" is from the 1942 Abbott and Costello's film "Ride 'em Cowboy" in which she played 'Ruby', who plays one of several roles as one of the employees of the ranch.

I love the fact that, as the only African American on the bus, she moves freely from front to back, something that surely must have raised a few eyebrows in 1942.

Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917.

She started singing in the heavenly chorus on June 15, 1996.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Ella. You'll be singing to me as I plant pansies in the front yard of the rectory this afternoon - because, well, it's a lovely day for saying 'it's a lovely day'.

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