Jazz Spirit and Female Vocals: Ella Fitzgerald


When we say jazz music, I think we can hear a vague recipe from everyone. Although the word meaning of 'Jazz' is still unknown, we cannot make a clear definition when explaining music. The reason for this is that jazz music contains and nurtures different genres under 'improvisation'. In this type of music where improvisation is the majority, we hear the composer improvisations over and over in every performance and a different composition in each scene.

'Jazz can be described as a strongly black-influenced American musical dialect.' as written in the Encyclopedia of Music and Musician. Would it be correct to say the music of black Americans with this definition? Can we say that even though it is black in origin, it was never influenced by the music in Europe?

The jazz music genre, which benefited from harmony in Europe over time, revealed its own innovation in harmony by reducing the 3rd and 7th sounds in tone to semitone pese. At the same time, he managed to make a difference both as accompaniment and solo by using growl (wind instrument imitation), portamento technique. Jazz music, which has a lot of listeners today, has taken its place in history as a musical genre that does not adhere to prohibitions and borders and has a soul.

Let's get to the soul.

In jazz music, we can capture the soul with instruments or with sounds that do not look like instruments. When you think about these, maybe you listen to Summertime and let Ella Fitzgerald take you to her own world.

Her full name is Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Virginia. Dreaming of becoming a dancer as a child, Ella won first place in 1934 when she sang at the Apollo theater, influenced by Connee Boswell. As most of us in the world expected, a hand reached out to Ella, Chick Webb recruited her into his group. Although his first recording 'Love and Kisses' did not create enough impact, his hit song was 'A-Tisket, A-Tasket' recorded in 1938. The album remained in the charts for 17 weeks. With her full and clear voice, her ability to imitate the instruments in the orchestra. Ella's tone and harmony were immediately noticed. The most important thing that made Ella stand out was her mastery of the scat technique. With her scat performance on Norman Granz's Jazz's Philharmonic tours, Ella became the brightest star on the stage and the person who closed the concert.

Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe

In 1956, with the Songbook album series, he succeeded to become a bridge, changing the cultural bond between Africans and Americans. So much so that 'His audience was as diverse as his vocal range. They were rich and poor, of all races, all religions, and all nationalities. In fact, many of them had one thing in common – they all loved him.' (ellafitzgerald.com )

People preferred to listen to Ella's naked voice and improvisations. The tracks 'Mack the Knife' and 'How High the Moon' attracted a lot of attention at the Berlin concert. Benny Goodman Louis Armstrong , Duke Ellington , Mills Brothers, Ink Spots ve Dizzy gillespie He has toured internationally with pop and jazz stars such as.Ira Gershwin once said, 'I didn't know how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing it'. (ellafitzgerld.com) Her voice, her achievements continued to shine like hers.

Health problems started to show in the 1970s. An Ella who is still in love with jazz, who meets her dreams like a little child every time she goes on stage, and meets the eyes of her audience. She knew that the end was coming. He acted in four films during his lifetime. He received 13 Grammys, Kennedy Center Honor (1979), and National Medal of Arts (1987). Finding herself with jazz music, Ella took refuge in it, grew within her and showed that anyone can grow this music within.

He performed his last concert in New York's famous Carnegie Hall in 1991. On June 15, 1996, the 79-year show came to an end.

The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, which is important to her loved ones and family, was founded and funded to help people of all races, cultures and faiths with the fruits of her lifetime success.(ellafitzgerald.com)

While listening to jazz music, especially in female vocals, we see that they sing slowly, more emotionally, by bringing their voices to the fore. Well then, isn't jazz music to be sung cheerfully? Was there no joy in the essence of jazz music? Ella Fitzgerald was a legendary vocalist who made her improvisations more cheerful compared to other vocalists of her age, allowing us to hear her inner child, and adding a different breath to jazz. We will remember Ella as 'The First Lady of Song' and 'Queen of Jazz'.

'I guess what everyone wants more than anything else is to be loved. And to know that you loved me for my singing is too much for me.'  

I think what everyone wants more than anything is to be loved. And it's too much for me to know that you love me for singing. 


www.ellafitzgerald.com , www.arts.gov , www.history.com , www.britannica.com , www.classical-music.com

Jazz Art- İlham K. Mimaroğlu, Philosophy of Jazz – Daniel Martin Feige

Jazz Music Recommendation Books

Jazz Art – İlhan K. Mimaroğlu, Jazz Philosophy – Daniel Martin Feige, Jazz Book – Joachim E. Berendt, From Jazz to Pop – Orhan Kahyaoğlu, Chord Series in Jazz Music – Nail Yavuzoğlu, Jazz: The Art of Improvisation – Yavuz Akyazıcı, Bir Folk Music Jazz – Sidney Finkelstein 

1 Review

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