I was introduced to Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) through my mother’s album “Ella Sings the Cole Porter Songbook.” That album, the first of Fitzgerald’s eight classic Verve songbooks, became the template of that concept for all artists including “The First Lady of Song” herself. I saw her perform many times in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and the Berkeley Greek Theatre, and she was always a brilliant musician and warm, humble personality. Fitzgerald is one the most recorded artists in history and much of her body of work will see re-release all year long. This month the Smithsonian Museum opened “First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald at 100” and the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles has created a similar tribute.
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