tv Doc Film Deutsche Welle July 6, 2019 5:15pm-6:00pm CEST
when i would hear her voice it was just something so happy that's the thing she made me feel happy she made me feel say. in $138.00 ella fitzgerald collaborated to make a jazz piece out of a children's rhyming game to skid a task it. was a 1st hit with a chick webb orchestra and marked the start of an unparalleled career spanning 5 decades. that.
you know was. known and. no other voice was more influential in 20th century jazz then ella fitzgerald the queen of jazz and the 1st lady of janice the 1st lady of song. to sing she had a very long career it's really 3 generations that are now the 3rd generation is now speaking so they grew up with their grandparents listening and the records were in the house they grew up with their parents listening and. what your mother and your
and that's why we can understand the words so clearly we don't hear all these overtones mulet muddying up the pitch so we hear this clarity and that clarity of pitch is experienced as a kind of purity of tone which reminds us of an essential aspect of the human voice and see a lot of times the rhythm sections make the singers sound better the singers to float on top of whatever's happening musically. and sometimes it's the interpretation of vocal is has that just you know obviously soul's the song but as far as this time feel we always reluctant rely on the rhythm section so that was one of the few singers. contributed to the time feel into the overall groove of music. initially ella dreamed of becoming a dancer instead because of a last minute decision she became
a singer. at your humble beginnings in yonkers new york ella just 15 when her mother died fled her abusive stepfather dropped out of school and lived on the streets of harlem. in 1904 at the age of 17 ellen got her big break at the legendary apollo amateur's night talent show. rather than dance she decided to sing big band leader and drummer chick webb became a protective figure as he fostered her exceptional talent was little but. when she started out with chick webb the chick singer up front with the band was supposed to be a beautiful dress and the guy sit in the chair sing her a little chorus in the middle of the song get up and sit down well from the very beginning she didn't sit down. and waved her arms and interacted
with the musicians as if she were the conductor and told chick that she wanted to learn how to jam with the boys in the band. and she's blending in. and like one of the you know instruments in the man she might jump in sing with the trombones or play in a with the sax is a play and with the trumpets you know she just had this that ability everything by ear. she thought he brought me in he brought me out he brought me to my audiences and without him what would have happened to me. when our mentor died in 1939 young talent took over his band and continued to lead it successfully for several more years. an astonishing accomplishment for a young woman called him at a time when jens was still generally considered disreputable.
basic in the 30s you would never take your mother to a jazz concert you would never take your wife you might take your mistress you know is that kind of thing but you would never risk but when respectable people went to see jazz at the prince of wales like jazz but he thought he was slumming and that was sort of the attitude people enjoyed it but it was very much underground and even in the black community it was looked down upon in the beginning the black middle class and the black religious class looked down on jazz it had to do with gambling it had to do with. low class low sexual morals and things like that but but you know people like ellington and really gave it a kind of respectability i mean after al i really you could take your mother to here to a jazz concert. beat
. i mean did they do. 7 was. 7 in the mid 1940 s. he met and married bassist ray brown and was forging a new style of music together with charlie parker aren't tatum roiled ridge and dizzy gillespie style called bebop. she shared a deep musical bond with dizzy who would become an important teacher. 6 c she stood next to dizzy gillespie in all these great great bebop players the people
that invented view and she could hold her own you know so the people that end up scattering. good next to her would be people like dizzy gillespie and eldridge and people that actually play horns if you learn bebop heads all the charlie parker tillmans and all those lex you know never there's never room for should we joe base you know sell i tell them like l. is a great one because she used a great syllables it was just very natural for her when she employed by you know and i think she's the greatest scat singer even today to me she's the greatest skep singer she did you really really. she just. needed to. rethink your. company because she didn't need them then don't.
remember so she invented a language you know that is actually taught you know oh no you go blot out bebop or do you do do you know and you know maybe that might work not work for you you know but people do it anyway but she did it because that worked for her that was how she could get to where she needed to get to the meeting. room down and that's when you get a handle on but do people do you know. i know that she can scat she could do chorus after chorus after chorus after chorus with. complete ease i know when i was doing her the tribute album to her my dear ella. i decided one day. that i was going to do air mail special but it really did it it
lit it up a little in little italy so and i wanted to do her scat. it up and get into debris living meaning you need eliminating the need and i have. she really i spent a day trying to get her read up. to really be able to pull this off and i couldn't do it because it was just not natural for me so i delayed that wind a bit i was like well that's a good idea that i'm going to read you would need to go out and i have been the guy that the facts. are. in the 2nd round for the 1940 s. she started working with norman grounds already you know legendary music manager and the founder of the concert series called john is it to feel harmonic.
just so i need someone to speak for me and i'll do the signing and norm on the. management contract and 54. recording contract at the end of $55.00 and started for records on my part of it is a had a vision terms of her tolerance work ethic the integrity of her work the genius of her. entire approach to signing jav. to do it. was. only.
the. ella became a fixture of jazz at the. with the touring band that brought together the biggest names in the genre in the mid 1950 s. she accompanied the show around the world including to the southern united states where the performers faced intense discrimination our manager norman grant's forcefully opposed racial segregation. and well being on the road he certainly and countersigned work and was said no he didn't and counter and he purposely set out to confront and every year i come here with jazz of a fellow american every year i think the thing this is the greatest thing in jazz
myself that. i remember hearing a woman grounds constantly introducing his one and only as misfits gerald the great ella fitzgerald rarely does he ever just use her 1st name because he was so clued in to the racist climate in the united states. and 1st lady in a period when we weren't supposed to call a black woman mrs is a very important racialized statement as well it's a statement of stature of prestige. other title meant to dignity. ready but the 1st lady of jazz faced the same discrimination that all black jazz musicians suffered at the time in 1955 she and other band members were arrested on a trumped up charge after a concert and used in texas. but a year earlier on
a stopover in honolulu on route to sydney australia she was forced off the plane to allow white passengers on board. just gerald had to wait 3 days for another connecting flight norman grant's subsequently sued pan am which lost and was forced to pay damages. the case made headlines just like another incident in 1955. marilyn monroe stepped in when her favorite nightclub the mocambo in los angeles refused to let fitzgerald play due to the color back. when rowe contacted the manager and promised she'd sit in the front row for a week if he let fitzgerald perform. later ella fitzgerald said of monroe she was an unusual woman and ahead of her time she just didn't know.
well if it's gerald and louis armstrong only collaborator done 2 albums today those are world famous. it said the pair cracked so many jokes during the recording session that they often had to stop working because they were laughing so hard. to run this time norman grants persuaded ella to begin a series of recordings exploring the great american songbook she was skeptical afraid of losing her loyal jazz audience my sense is that it was a surprise insult level because he had tried the idea of a song work out earlier with oscar peterson for example and then didn't really work he just had the experience of watching ella fitzgerald with the jazz at the philharmonic his touring group that she could sing standards and reach an audience
and he banked on that. as a premise to do this experiment she tried the spec to reel in front of an audience she told them she needed to try it out before she would agree to do this and after she did a concert primarily with standards i think primarily with cole porter she said we can go ahead i saw their faces it'll be fine. be. there are a lot of the most classic songs that these writers throw but also playings.
and norman grabs sifted through and just thought which of these do you want to setting for example you know that great balance every time we say goodbye that's an example for songs became important because she sighed and that they were on the song course. and the cool porter song book recorded in 1956 was the 1st of her famous song book series. the duke ellington songbook from the following year was most important to her personally ringback. also. ready ringback but. you know.
one. there are millions are great examples of al as a ballad singer and to me this is one of them she really really put you know her heart and soul into something like this you can tell that she's really feeling it. you know would. like. why. they're the. only one. and especially in the song or should i say sometimes it's done people to swing it or they you know do it for reverent you know they just do it flip and do nothing till you hear from me and but our mind says that it's really a love song. and the message is. no matter what you hear or
who you hear it from i will always love you. and she brings that out but i think that almost almost any other singer it's a very unique and special performance and. my mom. ready was. and that's an area of her canon as it were that really doesn't get enough attention people always talk about what a great scat singer she was what a great swinger she was what a great band singer she was what a great jazz singer she was and all of that is entirely true but she was a wonderful ballad singer well.
she was a gifted improvisers. at that than that but i knew that that was the the lion because when you see that you know all she everybody is like sweet n low and that it is not not at those times you know she was ready to take you there and i mean she was monstrous like and it didn't really. think. that that was. that. and musicians were afraid of her. instrumentalists i was that she's
a musician instrumentalists yeah because she's not come up there and she's going to go back and forth with you she's always got something to say you better have something to say or she'll run you off the stage. like that jazz was a means of reaching people and it was stolen the best musicians today it can be that as well but it's sort of you know got the stigma attached to it that compared to say rock and roll music jazz is much more intellectual whereas that's not what it's supposed to be at all jazz is a means of communication jazz is primarily a means of making people dance and primarily a means of making people smile it's not supposed to be this and similar thing and ella was the greatest of that that.
was expected. the. thing is we're going to go by with. war. all. they could to layer and stream us a all a do and i but even more importantly they were spotted her musicianship on a lot of times musicians caught a whole sanger's as as as riot all the the extra model s. are still predominate with with with all law. that she was as good or better than the run of the mill of. always on the road most of the year singing was all she wanted to do it was her life. the stages of the world in an audience were all she needed. people clamored
to hear her voice and she never disappointed. on her travels or look it's gerald commanded tremendous respect as a black singer. the greatest i'm a great. reader. there will be. at home in the u.s. the struggle against racial segregation and oppression in the 1960 s. was marked by escalating violence. as the civil rights movement gained momentum under the leadership of martin luther king jr the queen of jazz to seem more confident and more resolute that before.
now. but you know school teachers just let the spirit flow into them then that's a person in there. that could have the spirit takes over it. really. is going to put a sequel to it from the american pop star. house fence we're seeing there were no. honor. and there was silence. i don't think they saw a black woman standing there on stage i think the music her music you just were in the presence of something very special you were in the presence you were you were in this other space i can't. i can't stand i can't stand.
but she is not because stop. was. i was. was. 6 c she didn't really understand the. the affection that people had towards her she didn't she didn't i mean she would come out after a concert and say that was a that was a good audience you know nothing about her singing but before hand should be a wreck very nervous she didn't want to talk to or one time we had a concert that was about 60 miles away when i was road man and she and her. and not
one word was spoken in the limo on the way up on the way back you could show up. in the final years of ella fitzgerald in life jim blackman was one of the few people allowed into her inner circle. i always said that it's a good thing ella was as universally acclaimed as she was because i don't think she could have taken any criticism because it would hurt her feelings. what is. it with you i. didn't. know. she she had this ability to make people want to protect her there was something about her that you didn't want any harm to come tour you didn't want her to have any bad situations in life because she.
she felt deeply about things and extremely private you know. extremely private so you know that's why i would think you know she let you see what it was that she needed to have and needed to be the sinus becomes. a defense for how little she wishes to share her what she thinks of it in days answering questions that are invasions of privacy. and war or someone might go to al i'm sorry all could you do this or do that she says yesterday or as she said there are a lot because she could not remember many people's names yesterday. so then i would be like i asked norman potter to call and speak to norman. norman parents represented ella fitzgerald for more than 40 years their professional and
personal relationship was the most stable bond in fitzgerald's life. in the course of her long career she was showered with accolades like in paris 1990 . bridgewater met her there after an awards ceremony. when i went to the u.s. embassy i mean there were less than about $200.00 people there were at the embassy in there was a big spread and of course champagne and all kinds of drinks and all of these people were talking in this room and there was no ella fitzgerald little bit whereas. i went over and i said down with her and i said miss fitzgerald and she's didi helen. why why are you here you know this reception is for you and she said to me
something that i have never forgotten she said a few things on that occasion. and she said you know dee i hate these kinds of affairs i hate receptions i hate those meeting in crete and she said because people just come to those things so they can get together interested in me you see no one has missed me you're the 1st person to come and look for. the other thing that ella told me was she said i hope that you will take the time to be a mother to your children she said that that was her biggest regret is that she did not spend more time with ray jr and she said that was the thing that she wished she could have turned back time. or adopted ray brown jr while she was married to bassist ray brown. when the marriage
ended in 1953 she raised their son alone though she. remained a lifelong friend. was. her singing was in a skate from anything that was not good in her life you know and you can tell that her escape was and her desire obviously was to find pure joy because that's what you hear in in her sound that was her that was her heir that was her water that was she loves she lived and loved to sing. in the late 19th sixty's and early seventy's fitzgerald increasingly performed a contemporary soul or pop songs including ones with
a political message. offstage she took a political stance and her own way singing at president john f. kennedy's inauguration and supporting robert kennedy's campaign in 1968. following the assassination of dr martin luther king jr in april 19th 68 ella fitzgerald composed the song it's up to me and you. would.
now. only. you. where you can. i always get the feeling that she's pointing to the music not her own suffering or difficulties or her own personality or personal story his own and as for her the focus is on the music. as if she takes the focus off of her self and puts a spotlight on the content of the music by that's really a very modern approach it was easy this is i think an example down the dank fison
you meet new need to of me yet. when you care less. in the final years of her life ella fitzgerald was beset by health problems and increasingly spent more time at her estate in beverly hills than on the road. she suffered from diabetes which led to numerous complications and left her legally blind she could barely walk and underwent heart surgery but none of that stopped her from performing. she lived in seclusion with contact of only a few close friends. jim blackman was one of them and he voted fan who traveled to her concerts for decades she one day acknowledged his loyalty by inviting him over to her house. what does fan come from fanatic
probably but that by that point you know i was friends with her and so i wasn't you know i was accompanying her so. you know and i was little you know people called me a groupie but you know i always tried to stay away from her and it was she who came up to me it was she who started this relationship not me. that condi was over for anything at my school to after. he said my dear friends i have given. it. more than the. lady from. there certainly can eat. oh are full.
agony. these may have stood. and if you can't be there you wold choose. and it can. you simply have to. prove it didn't. you you do. this in the egg. breakfast mediocre way. your messed up food bed. on a really good. and it feels good and slaying good use simply. didn't do you didn't have to many these made my wrap so deep that if you can
update it it was used to give. it to mother plump. down a bit. to do better than that or did something good did. your plate go back to the mom during. the it did stop it little bit the book. did her power go read it but. no i don't because we begin to we read it to make her out to. create a film in. our. world. it.
was. for. when you're driven and you're here you get filled you. there's a spiritual fullness that you get can get from that. and. and performing and getting that love back from the audience as well i think that that was her family have seen no incident that i had the chance to see here at carnegie hall in 1901 she was terribly thin and could hardly see the scene
because she came onto the stage and people were just screaming i love you ella it was unbelievable the atmosphere the love pouring from the audience towards this person for who see it all and and then she sat on her chair and said i love you too honey to. an american treasure. which. i. knew she had to have coming out onto the stage and she was had a few words to say she just said really i don't know what to say you know thank you but but i can sing you know and i feel like that's where she was most her most comfortable really was performing and she's saying you are the sunshine of my. that's was. around.
and there were these young people in the audience in the front and she was singing to them and you could tell that it was she was singing to them and it. was. i felt like she was singing to me and then she loved she was. and i felt like she loved me and she loved them and i cry and watch it over and over and over again and each time i cry when i was. the fact i bought her race. last night they're going to. be. used in a sense. this sunday. night.
on the senate senator thanks . to the conflict zone with jim sebastian gemini's farai go position thoughts in the a.f.c. thanks its place in a new and thanks found itself in this group on the phone i guess this week is famous for its finished all the problem i think such as you know except possibly to close out some of this filing a bunch of us will read conflicts of this. v.w. .
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