Saturday 25 April 2020


Ella Fitzgerald – for my money the greatest female singer (non-classical) of the twentieth century – was born on this day in 1917. She was (to quote Leonard Cohen out of context) born with the gift of a golden voice – a voice like no other, with an astonishingly pure tone, almost like some unnamable musical instrument. She put this voice in the service of an extraordinary musical sensitivity that ensured her phrasing and timing were always exactly right for the song she was singing; no one could put a song across with such sensitivity and fidelity as Ella (except perhaps Fred Astaire, but he didn't have the voice). And, as if all that wasn't enough, her enunciation was also perfect. Here she is, demonstrating all these gifts and abilities to the full in a Rodgers and Hart classic from the Great American Songbook – one that has a strange extra resonance in this time of New York lockdown...


  1. 'spoil' to 'goil' - Hart knew what he was doing, for sure. And Ella's life-long reserve ensured that most of her energies were poured into her artistry, to our good fortune.

  2. Absolutely – an exemplary career (I'm prepared to forgive her the scat).

  3. I'm prepared to forgive her anything!