Here are some of the remembrances...
"In 1982 I took my beautiful Mother to see Ella Fitzgerald perform in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco, California. Ella was fabulous and my Mom about had dream moment come reality as she met her after the concert and so did I. I must say I also took Mom there to see Count Basie as well. Then spoiled her by taking her to see Lena Horne at the big theater on Market Street in San Francisco. Glad to have spoiled my Mom as she was wonderful and we can never give back enough to great parents." - Gary, Listener, San Diego
Note: We found this picture of an Ella Fitzgerald concert at the Farimont in the 1980's...maybe this was the one Gary and his lucky Mom went to!
Jerry: "I never remember a time when there was "no Ella". Seems I've heard here my entire life, and, over time, have collected virtually all of her recordings, even to the very rare "Goodnight My Love" with the Benny Goodman Orch. As he was signed to a different label, turns out the then young Ella was in breach of her contract, so the record was withdrawn. At any rate, I've managed to see her live in concert several times, and she never disappointed 1 bit...When I heard she has died I had to pull the car over, and just started sobbing. She, and her influence on jazz will never be forgotten. Long live ELLA! "
Kate, sustaining member:
"My first real & impressionable encounter with Ella Fitzgerald was in 1997. I was 25 at the time. I had heard her name before that, knew she was a jazz songstress of some repute, but I didn't know the depth of her contributions to jazz and music. Having been a choral student my entire junior high & high school career, I was familiar with all kinds of music, including show tunes, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and the like. It was upon hearing the song Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered while watching the movie Love! Valour! Compassion! that my love affair with Ella really began. I bought the soundtrack and played that song repeatedly until I had it memorized. I fell hard for that voice and that song was a perfect rendition on the roller coaster that is lust and love and loss.
Ella has one of those voices that could sing the alphabet and make it sound amazing. I put kd lang in that category also. Some voices are just simply stellar and incomparable.
Gordon...I look forward to hearing all the great Ella tunes during the membership drive. Best of luck with the campaign!"
"I first became acquainted with Ella Fitzgerald as a child of about seven or eight, living in North Hollywood in the 1950s. My father was a keen enthusiast of jazz and classical music, and he cobbled together a hi-fi system that was fairly state-of-the-art for its time. My father and mother listened to KNOB-FM, "The Jazz Knob," quite steadily. My dad had many jazz albums in his ample collection, yet two that I remember particularly well were Ella and Louis, and Porgy and Bess, with Louis Armstrong and Ella singing the lead roles, respectively. Porgy and Bess left an impression that haunts me to this day. It not only kindled my enthusiasm for Ella (and Louis); it also made me curious to explore the music of George Gershwin more extensively. Ella's clear, crystalline voice, her purity of line, diction and enunciation, her cool yet emotional investment in whatever she sung, and her ability to "scat-sing," simply cannot be faulted. To my mind, she is arguably the greatest female jazz singer who ever lived. Is there anything better than the duet between Ella and Louis in Bess, You Is My Woman Now--particularly the closing bars?Finally, I've chosen to remember Ella on her centenary by posting this image as my cover photo on Facebook."
Daniel, San Diego....
"For many many years in my younger days I'd hang around SummerFest in Milwaukee. I did this from my late teens until 30's when I moved away. I would also work the Festivals for certain vendors or entities. ""...one afternoon I spent hours in line to see my greatest singer, other than Lady Day, Ella Fitzgerald: the most amazing scat momma of all times!She was older by then, well I was in my 20's I believe. She was not her thin self from the Mussel shoals time. But it was more than a tisket-a-tasket-gotta-a-yellow-basket too! She was such a proficient singer! A voice that made you cry & scream for joy, all in the same song!So waiting in line and listening to my tapes on Sony Walkman+ was still a treasure! No time wasted. And when we got in we waited another 2 hours, overlooking the Milwuakee harbor and bay into Lake Michigan. Under the Daniel Hoan Bridge. Ate my fair fare food! waiting in peace & coming joy. And when she came out, that dark chocolate dream sang her heart out. I remember after a few song, before an intermission, I ran down, waited for the usher to deal with other ticket holders, while I snuck by to get some pictures on my throw-away camera. Best $3 I ever spent!, well at least at that moment. Her stylistic but simple dress, her easy swaying, until she sang through in some scat, which perked us all up! Now, the thunder of applause gave me away! And the usher quickly came down to see my ticket, yeah, like I had that!???!. I told him, i'd drank too much and was just trying to get to the restroom quickly, and I better get there NOW! And off he let me be, pointing quickly the way to the restroom.6-10 songs later, I was in dream land. The intermission just flew by with a team of bikini clad girls doing a water skiing demonstration, my thoughts of new snacks after the show, and how I would never forget this! ELLA FREAK'n FITZGERALD! And Icon, the lady of song/soul/blues who just set me on fire with magic dreams. Or was it just the Blues?"