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Back to Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic First British Tour 1958

Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic First British Tour 1958 003

Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic First British Tour 1958 003

Pages 2 and 3 of the prorgramme for Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic tour of Great Britain. Ella Fitzgerald is profiled, emphasising her worldwide popularity and success. A large portrait photograph of Fitzgerald takes up page 3. 

Image Details

Catalogue Reference Number NJA/PRO/3
Creator Jack Higgins, Bob Dawbarn
Date Made 1958
Item Format Programme
Title or Caption
Geographic Location

This text has been generated by computer from the image and may contain typographical and/or grammatical errors.

ELLA FITZGERALD
“ woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all! ” That is no publicist’s quote. It was the
honest opinion of a man who ought to know a great singer when he hears one—Bing Crosby.
If Bing counts himself Ella’s number one fan, then you can enrol every singer of note as club members. The enquiry about favourite singers is one of the stock questions from the Interviewers’ Manual but the answer gets so monotonous that most of us have given up asking any more. We just write “ Ella ” in our notebooks and take it as said.
For once, Joe Public doesn’t lag behind the professionals. Ella has won every popularity poll of note in America over the years and here in Britain the latest voting by readers of the Melody Maker found her with 5,925 points—over ten times the number polled by her nearest rival, Sarah Vaughan. In the same paper, Britain’s critics endorsed the readers’judgment by naming Ella the world’s number one.
Why this unanimous approval? For one thing there is the Fitzgerald technique. The thought of Ella singing a wrong note would be akin to blasphemy.
Allied to that technique, is a voice of expressive warmth and that elusive quality, taste. Technique for Ella is a means to an end, not something to be used for gaudy displays of virtuosity. With Ella it all sounds so deceptively easy. She has the apparent simplicity of all great artists.
During 21 years in show business, the record shops have sold the fantastic number of over 25 million records by Ella. Unlike so many of the fame-in-a-night stars of the 1950’s, everyone is pretty confident that she will do better in the next 21 years.
Born in the town of Newport News, Virginia, in 1918, Ella’s singing career took off during an amateur night at the Harlem Opera House in 1935. Singing a now-forgotten “ pop ” called “ Judy ”, Ella won the first prize. More important, She was heard by the late Chick Webb who signed her up with his band.
Whilst with Webb, Ella had her first big record hit—“ A-Tisket, A-Tasket ” in 1938.
After Webb’s tragic death, Ella took over the band for a while but, with America in the War, most of the men were called into the Forces. The group disbanded and Ella had sung her last song as a mere band singer.
For the past nine years she has starred with Jazz At The Philharmonic, touring all over the world and everywhere adding to her legion of fans.
In addition she is kept busy recording for Norman Granz—who was responsible for such top Ella albums as “ The Cole Porter Song Book ”, “ The Rodgers And Hart Song Book ” and the LP’s with Louis Armstrong.
Ella’s marriage to Oscar Peterson’s bassist Ray Brown ended in divorce in 1953 but, as you can hear, they still both work for Jazz At The Philharmonic
Ella has been in Britain before but, for most of us, this will be the first in-person experience of a very great artist. An experience, we hope to have repeated at very regular intervals in future.
BOB DAWBARN,
Melody Maker.