Tuesday, June 15, 2010
When Ella Fitzgerald made her singing debut in November 1934 not even she could have known when she died - on this day in 1996, three years after her retirement - that her career would one day span 57 years, surviving and even thriving despite the vagaries of various culture wars and an increasingly capricious audience; when she stepped out onto the stage of Harlem's famed Apollo Theater on that fateful night all she wanted to do was dance. Intimidated by a previous dance act - the Edwards Sisters - Ella decided to sing instead; the rest, as we like to say around here, is pop culture...
Here she is, joined on piano by her fellow legend Duke Ellington, from a television special circa 1968; the song is one of his all-time classics, Don't Get Around Much Anymore*. In total, Ella and Duke recorded two live (Ella and Duke at the Cote D'Azur and The Stockholm Concert - both 1966) and two studio (1957's The Duke Ellington Songbook and 1967's Ella at Duke's Place) albums together, and this clip demonstrates the total ease with which they worked together.
*Also known as Never No Lament; lyrics by Bob Russell.
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