Ella Jane Fitzgerald ("The First Lady of Song", "Lady Ella", "The First Lady of Jazz", "Mama Jazz") was an American singer known for her proficiency in the pop standard and jazz idioms, particularly her ability in scat singing. Fitzgerald had a vocal range of several octaves , outstanding clarity of tone and adept phrasing. She had the undisputed respect of all of her peers. Fitzgerald was a multi Grammy Award winner and received many citations and honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and several honorary doctorates.
Fitzgerald famously won a singing contest at the well-known Apollo Theatre "Amateur Night" while still a teenager, and went on to musical stardom. Of particular note are her "Songbooks"; each album contains collected recordings of her interpretations of the work of one particular composer considered to be part of The Great American Songbook.
Although plagued by illness (diabetes) later in life, the disease she eventually died of, her voice held up well (albeit with natural decline) and she continued to play to sold out audiences.
Ella Fitzgerald died in 1996. Said one tribute payer: "She had a voice that never made anyone unhappy".
- David Brinkley said that one needed an elevator (life) to reach the top and bottom of Ella Fitzgerald's vocal range