The question of who did Ella Fitzgerald get singing lessons from has always intrigued me. Who were the people who taught her the songs she sang? Was it her manager, Count Basie, or Cole Porter? Who did she mimic? What was their sense of pitch and rhythm like? What was their sense of “scat” singing? Let’s take a look at the answer to this question.
The legend goes that Ella Fitzgerald got her singing lessons from her manager, Norm Granz. While working for the famous jazz impresario, she appeared regularly in his “Jazz at the Philharmonic” concerts and eventually became his manager. Norm fought hard to ensure the equality of musicians he managed. As a result, many of Fitzgerald’s recordings were on his record labels.
Later, in the mid-1940s, Ella Fitzgerald’s singing career took off, with a series of international tours with jazz ensembles. Later, she was hired by manager Norman Granz and began singing with jazz orchestras and ensembles. The band’s first appearance was in Philadelphia, and her last concert was in the Earl Theatre. Norman Granz later managed the band and got her a contract with his own label, granting her more musical freedom.
In the late 1940s, Ella Fitzgerald began taking singing lessons from Count Basie. During this period, she also worked with jazz impresario Norman Granz. She performed regularly in his Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts, became his manager, and was recorded on some of Granz’s record labels. The following year, Basie died, but Fitzgerald continued to sing with him and eventually recorded more than a dozen albums with him.
Basie had a wide variety of musical talents. He played for President Kennedy, the first African-American woman to ever win a Grammy Award. He also had nine Grammy Awards, including two at the first ceremony. And, his vocal range was unsurpassed. Basie’s musical style is still in vogue today. Basie embodies the essence of the jazz era and influenced a generation of artists.
As a child, Ella Fitzgerald listened to her singing teacher Cole Porter, and she absorbed the songs and their lyrics. When she performed the song, “Every Time,” she sounded like she was a rock star, but the arrangement and vocals were a disappointment. Fitzgerald sang it beautifully, but she failed to convey the burning passion of the lyrics. This is a big mistake, and she should have taken lessons from someone who had achieved greatness as a singer.
Cole Porter’s songs were popular for several reasons. He possessed a rare ability to express the American way of life. He understood that money does not buy happiness. Although most of his songs expressed material prosperity, he knew that money was not everything. The American dream had a certain cost, and Cole knew this. He never caught up to it, but he did know how to make his money last.
George and Ira Gershwin
Ella Fitzgerald had a remarkable vocal range of up to 2.5 octaves and a unique sensitivity to rhythm, pitch and tone. She also possessed an unmatched capacity for mimicry and “scat” singing. The Gershwin brothers’ musical masterpieces remain popular today. It’s not hard to see why Ella Fitzgerald got singing lessons from them.
The Gershwins had taught Ella Fitzgerald how to sing jazz standards, and they influenced her vocal style and musical direction. They also gave her a wide repertoire of songs, including American favorites such as “Summertime” and “I Want You Back.” Fitzgerald sang with pianist Ira Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and Irving Berlin. She interpreted the works of George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.