Ella Fitzgerald: The “Queen of Jazz”

 

Ella Jane Fitzgerald
April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996

Ella Fitzgerald, also known as the “First Lady of Song” “Queen of Jazz” and “Lady Ella,” was an American jazz and song vocalist. With a vocal range spanning three octaves, she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing. Fitzgerald was a notable interpreter of the Great American Songbook. Over the course of her 59-year recording career, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush.

Ella Fitzgerald

 

Ella Fitzgerald, NYC, New York, 1953

Bessie Smith – “The Empress of the Blues”

 

Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer. Nicknamed “The Empress of the Blues”, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.

Bessie Smith – 1936 photograph by Carl Van Vechten