"We Love Ella! A Tribute to the First Lady of Song"
When I was a child, one of my favorite holiday albums was Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas. I would put the disc on my record player, look at the psychedelic album cover, and lose myself in the powerful voice of Ella Fitzgerald. As I grew up, Ella (like a true superstar, she became known by her first name alone) was seemingly always around. My parents played her jazz and standards music regularly, and she often appeared on the variety shows popular in my youth, singing her inimitable renditions of the hit songs of the day.
Ella Fitzgerald would have turned 90 this year, and Great Performances celebrates with a concert of her music. Co-hosted reverently by her friend Quincy Jones and Natalie Cole, We Love Ella! A Tribute to the First Lady of Song is truly a tribute Ella would have appreciated. Ella was a talented singer regardless of genre. Her albums of jazz, pop standards, and ballads are all classics. Her diversity is celebrated through the range of performers who sing at this tribute. Country music's Wynonna Judd, R&B's Ruben Studdard, an jazz man James Moody are just three examples of the performers paying tribute to Ella. Newcomers like Ledisi shared the same stage as music legends Stevie Wonder and Nancy Wilson, and all performers brought their styles to Ella's signature tunes. The range of performers mirrors Fitzgerald's fans, where age or genre barriers are broken when her music is played.
Watching this tribute, I realized that though Ella Fitzgerald rarely was the first to sing many of these songs, once her voiced graced the lyrics they became her own. Her 13 Grammys and over 40 million records sold worldwide speak for themselves. Undoubtedly, she deserves the title of "First Lady of Song," not only for the United States, but the world.