Transcript:

Speaker I know they get it. I get more money than they wanted.

Speaker So how was the Diana? Talk to me now. I know.

Speaker What do you got? Well, I know somebody who really send you on.

Speaker Yeah, I think it's available. It will be up in the next two months. Ella in Budapest. Nineteen seventy. The bird stuff. Probably not till next year. They'll be out this year, though. We finally got permission from. Lawyers and everything, and then we're going to do. I think for more than the next five years, I have lots of wonderful Ellum material.

Speaker You remember the tapes?

Speaker I started to put a few things together of some talking in the studio. But you'll have to wait a couple of weeks anyway. I just. Yeah.

Speaker Oh, my. Oh, no, no, not.

Speaker He said they're. Three chapters to Ella's Life for Pablo. Well, what would you have to say about the Decca?

Speaker I think it's like any artist part of the evolution.

Speaker Where?

Speaker You see her?

Speaker You see some growth. The big difference, I think, in most artists is.

Speaker If they're lucky enough to. Hook up with someone who has an affinity and can take care of what nobody wants to the business side. Oh, and if the person happens to be musical on top of it, it's even more so.

Speaker So I think in this case, since you started singing it jazz at the fills in, probably forty seven. Forty eight. So obviously not only grands had an affinity for.

Speaker Because at the same time he was still doing concerts with Billie Holiday and Helen Humes a little later.

Speaker He saw something in Al. That transcended her just being a jazz singer.

Speaker So.

Speaker When he contractually. Good sign her mid 50s kind of. He obviously had been thinking for years about plans of what he wanted her to record for her to become.

Speaker As I said, not just singing in jazz clubs.

Speaker It's a fascinating period anyway, because people always forget that during that time, the popular song had kind of disappeared again. It's like novels. When I was in high school would say in the 50s, Hemingway and Faulkner were out of fashion for a while because. I mean, he had a comeback later. Ellis thing was that suddenly she just transcended. The. Well, I'd like to think of the jazz stigma. To become an artist. And I think that in in itself. He saw not obviously just the vocal potential, but her inane, warm, real miss that I think everyone feels it's like people talk about some things that you just can't fake, that this is where the person is. In the success of those things and then all of a sudden, because this is part of Norman's plan, obviously. The gigs that she worked became the Fairmont Hotel and concerts. And what? And that in itself.

Speaker Variety of venues that jazz singers did not get.

Speaker And that led to. So when he sold Verve in the late 50s, 50, 1960. And we're still managing a line of computers and folks, and she made several records for several companies. And Norman was not involved in all of those. And the later 60s, she did a pop ish kind of thing because most artists are always. Looking for new material, not necessarily to have a hit record, but for themselves too. And Ella was always aware a good song is a good song, whether it's written by Paul Simon or Gershwin. That kind of thing.

Speaker So when I met normally grabs in the late 60s.

Speaker And he confided in me that.

Speaker He was seriously thinking about starting far below another level. Yes, I met him through. A famous engineer who just died of valid allergy. Yes, he did. Yeah, a couple days ago. Who had recorded lots of things with Norman. ELA and Art Tatum and things like that. I had started in the tape library, it was kind of a junior engineer. And. And ask Mel if. Was the Grande's ever came to town? I'd really like to meet him. We got to meet. He was doing a session with Ella. And by then, I was putting out unreleased. Things on Verve, that engine on and started to produce. X two. So he had obviously this plan for a while contractually. He couldn't start a company until about 68. So right after that, I think it was on his mind anyway, because this is what he lost. To this day, this is his passion. And so the pollo. Era, which, again, most people don't realize how stagnant jazz was. I mean, most of the artists. Besides Ella and Oscar Peterson.

Speaker Weren't sign, were recording. I mean, count bases. Sarah Vaughan, Zoot Sims. Well, Jackson had been doing things with Freddie Taylor in the MJ. Q But Dizzy and Roy Eldridge every I mean, sporadic things. You all. And this was what kind of reappeared. It always seemed to me basically kind of based on English Repertory Theater and which is a wonderful thing to draw on where you have people who can do anything really.

Speaker And within this, what would happen is we would fly in recording sessions for like four or five days. So as in any business, if you're flying people in from here and there, you can do a multiplicity of recordings at this time. And that's also what he came up with, the concept of recording Ella with Joe Pass.

Speaker And I'd like to go back. Yeah, sure. It was famous where you. Still, it Norman managed to get her away.

Speaker Well, I'll tell you, I don't know if we can use this on the. The story that he told me was he had been trying to get her contract from MCE. They were doing and why Alzheimer's is kicking in, but it's either the Glenn Miller story or one of those musicians stories that had Gene Krupa in it and lots of musicians who were signed to Norman. So he let them film half the movie and then. Serve them with a letter that if they release the movie without. So that's how we got this contract, a quid pro quo. Then you can keep this for your editing. He said the next day we sued them for one hundred thousand dollars in back royalties just because we knew it had to be. And they paid. Without an audit.

Speaker So for all those years, it's simply been cheating. Yeah, it's.

Speaker I think it's what happens, unfortunately, is. If you are a big star, you can afford lawyers and accountants to audit. And she wasn't a big star in the sense of Judy Garland. She she sold records. But again, let's go back to Bessie Smith, who they say sold a million, you know, singles. And I'm sure. Red, why she wasn't. You know, taking care of. No, no, I'm not putting a light on that business being any more immoral than. He was just playing the hunch that somebody records for that many years. They're taking advantage of percentage wise. And that's why through the years at Verve and the Apollo years into this day, because when they sold the company to Fantasy, it's still. No artist pays the usual costs for studio, etc.. The record company does.

Speaker It's not only benevolent and nice. In the record business, though. She jazzes the music business and then there's the recording business is different. Where they invest millions of dollars.

Speaker Kind of like the movies. Flip a coin. If something last for twelve minutes. That's.

Speaker I see the suit.

Speaker Yes, they said they paid it.

Speaker Yeah. So then he. Immediately.

Speaker So separate out.

Speaker He's then. Took care of a very large debt for.

Speaker Well, I think by then she'd been touring with him for a long time. And. Being privileged to be part of that family. One of the things. Reasons that musicians who work had anything to do with Norman is that historically he didn't believe anyone getting less than first class behavior, pay, et cetera. And. I'm sure even early on. One of the tapes, I think it might have mentioned to you that I'm making a little coffee, is Norman stuffing a concert when the audience was too loud for Ella? His people, he would.

Speaker Not.

Speaker Let anyone in any way denigrate their talents and their being beaten in hotels or planes or at concerts. And so I'm sure that during. Ellen have been singing a JADI for at least five years before the Decca thing became a diverse thing. And what I'm not privy to discussions, but it's obvious by. The number of her appearances as a increased in time also. I was just doing some work on a project for next year. And I have a friend, Leon Levitt, who is a big record collector and sells things that he has. Like every issue of Downbeat from nineteen forty six or something, and I went through about a ten year span looking for some things from like forty eight to fifty eight and the amount of. Articles, it said on GGP, etc. I think it was by 1952. He was grossing a million dollars a year in the tour's. And no one always told me that the tour is basically paid for the record company. That's why people said to Ben Webster with strings in this and he should be recorded with strings. And it's like Olivier doing movies so he can work the West End. That passion. I just have to believe that from the beginning, he saw something special in the airline and she obviously saw someone she could trust in him.

Speaker He said he had a plan for Allah. The first thing in the plan, Songbooks, was that.

Speaker I asked him once. He said he had been thinking of that for a long time. L did. I did. I think with Ellis Larkins a Gershwin thing or something. But nothing to the extent that Norman did. By the way, the Gershwin box, which has the Bernard Buffet lithographs, the concert was supposed to do. But he told Norman he was too busy at the time. So up for years, I was looking through the tape files, maybe there were some drawings of something that he had left behind. Yeah, I think this was. The plan to right away she is still did the concerts.

Speaker But as you see through the years, the kind of.

Speaker Places that she played just moved because this audience was available to her.

Speaker Now.

Speaker And all of her contemporaries, the Sinatras and what were fans, so that made it legit for. And I think that's. Was always in his mind.

Speaker But what?

Speaker What was the most important thing in the recording studio?

Speaker Don't forget the diet Fresca.

Speaker Number one.

Speaker See, everything about recording to me is preproduction.

Speaker Because if it's not ready by the time you get there. So we didn't on any of our dates and subsequently all the hundreds of things that I've done, you don't come in the studio to rehearse. You have a plan ahead of time. So I get an L a date. We're scheduling some things. We used to go into New York to RCA, who distributed Pablo for a long time. And we had a plan. He was in town. We do a big band thing. We do a tree over Zoot Sims. Ella was singing on Long Island or something. What did we want to do?

Speaker So.

Speaker I was the equivalent of kind of Shah's day affairs. You say, what do you thinking, you know, maybe deserted and this and these guys need to be talking with Allah about songs. And. As much as it was spontaneous, you have to realize that all these people. No, thousands of songs. The only things really to do my job was. The current recording that we did and I do, everybody's together. It's not isolated. It's not overdone. What? The bass player and the piano player have to seniors and the drummer has to be here. These things are vital. When recorded like bases, Van will have a band's on the road for 200 days. Flaying. This way. Well, that's how you hear any other way you change the musicality. What people are doing, Ella, even with orchestras and string sang in the middle of the room.

Speaker So. Whatever the date was. You get the players, get the room. I go in early to have it set of. And. Then. Norman would talk. They pick what to start with.

Speaker And.

Speaker Everything was not one take, but a lot of things were, and not just by Norman's choice. That's another myth of it. In all the years in almost 400 record dates that I did with Norman. Is that one take it and leave? No, no, no. Every artist has something to put in. There is input of. What you find out usually is that when you listen later, that the first thing was the best one. But nonetheless, there was it like we're trying to save some bread here. Let's get out of here. And Ella never knew what she like. She was didn't have to be coerced. And if she did not like a particular take, she would say, let me do another one. And that's what.

Speaker Well, I've read that she wasn't all that excited about doing this on. He's a little reluctant.

Speaker Having not been there, I think she was hesitant, knowing her later through the years and.

Speaker The shyness. Oh, I think.

Speaker It probably is scarier because. She had made a reputation as a Triscuit, a tasket, and this she was moving into logit. Now, she used to sing a lot of these songs in the concerts, but this would be like a showcase. So if you're doing her a Long Island things, you're viewed differently. And I think everybody wants. They want to be first, but they are kind of hesitant.

Speaker I've never heard that she bought it. It's like no one told me this story about the Charlie Parker with strings. And the big noise after by the critics. How dare he do this? No one said, do they think I put a gun to his head and live in the studio and said, Ricardi from parents. I mean, what how does that go on? I think the same thing with Ella. I think it was scary. It was scary to be now in direct competition with Sinatra and Bing Crosby, Doris Day, the singers of the Time. And I think the success.

Speaker I hope for her gave her a little more confidence.

Speaker Now, the singers you mentioned are all. Was that conscious for Norman?

Speaker See, Ella. I mean, trite as it sounds, I think transcends any kind of. Compartment. But on the real side, Ella was not Dinah Washington or Billie Holiday. The number of. Things. Why not utilize what is your gift? It's hardly anything. That is Jim Crow or Crow, Jim. He was trying. To make her pass. Because she had something that reached both audiences. So I think there was nothing at all in his mind except. She has something that none of the other ones did. She can scat and sing the blues if she wants. But she had the purity of voice and she had. The warmth that people really related to.

Speaker This. At a certain point. She became the. Just Ella.

Speaker Yeah. How did the evidence in. A major thing in American.

Speaker It's interesting, when I was doing some repackages adverted in the late 60s, this man who when I was a young man, a friend of our family who encouraged me in jazz and lent me records and all I had and writes in the liner notes from the concert that Norah did, the 57 Newport half of it was Billie Holiday and half was Ella. And in his notes, he stated, When you became like Picasso, Ella had become Ella. And you didn't have to ask if it was Ella Logan or Ella Schwartz or whoever it may be. This is the mysteries of Ella. I have no idea. All. Twenty five years of sort of being around what? Why not? Because I always tell the story of my daughter Julie backstage at the L-A concert. She was in her early teens and she said to me. Daddy is she's like a little girl. She should factor in the lights go on and she comes out and does it.

Speaker I don't know. I don't.

Speaker She had to be aware of it. Did it change her? I don't. I never saw anything.

Speaker Was it worth something?

Speaker It was worth something because. She had. Norman. Who, as I said, took care of his faithful and. Yes, but that. Was relevant only in the sense that.

Speaker She'll do a concert in Boston at the Ritz Carlton or something, and she'd want to go get Colonel Sanders coming back to the hotel. Ella was Ella. She'd like this kind of food, she was comfortable with this. She'd like all kinds of things. I think it's one of those rare cases of. That's who she was. And it's so easy, I think in the last years with all the books by children and spouses are what this person really was like. And LAUSD, his staff in the tower record store here on Sunset and go in, and I went once with feet with her and walked down the aisles and basically a dress and people wouldn't. And then somebody would see her and they know I could show you an elephant. And she always got to see if they had a record.

Speaker So that was. So she didn't know about that.

Speaker Did she and Norman disagree?

Speaker You know, I never saw any fighting. Yes, they disagree as. In the sense of. Not in the Hassidic of temple, which is Ellos bailiwick and what. When you start a session. You don't edit before, so you have you know, you could do 20 songs, you only need 10. You're trying to get something conceptually music wise that mixes so the tempos are not unless you're doing an all valid thing or what are the only disagreements were like? I think that's a good one. And Ella would say, I'd like to hear it. And then if she wanted to do another one, we would. Again, these things were well talked about in advance. So it was like.

Speaker Getting there. What are we going to do? It's. Also, what you want.

Speaker He gave her the leeway in these 20 songs. What do you feel like doing, baby?

Speaker And but.

Speaker Everyone has it's as my grandmother used to say. You hear something? It's chocolate and vanilla. You know, it's not the same, but there is no right and no argue. No.

Speaker Was she interested in what other people thought?

Speaker In Syria.

Speaker I think.

Speaker I think it really came down to her and Norman. She was, you know, you're doing a date with Oscar and every round. Since you figure that their family and no one will lie. But it's still your record, your day. So that's what I mean about the relationship between Norman Ella being one of.

Speaker If you don't like this one, we'll do another one. It wasn't that hard.

Speaker And.

Speaker As opposed to people who do. Twenty seven takes of something. Sometimes only the artist knows the feel they want. And that's the way it should be. That's the way it should be. And to have. The luxury of that.

Speaker It is something to because thinking back to the dates, let's say that she did for a decade and what? And, you know, she worked with good people. And what?

Speaker But when you are. The whole process.

Speaker Does it make sense? Recording you sick someone in a room, you turn on a light, tell the to give you a painting with reds and blues and three hours. All right. So how do you overcome this in kind of the ways that we're talking of working these things out in front and during this? That includes the lighting being right. The couteur, ma, they're. We'd never had hardly any visitors ever because he's nice and knowledgeable as they may be. It's distracting because as much fun as it is, it is worth. And. I think it's part of that whole totality of it and the trust, the trust is me.

Speaker Ever from time to time, a little irritated with. What was the story behind that?

Speaker This will have to be a. No one had his pension for. When he had a. As Ellington said, did I tell you? Let me regress for and Duke's book, Music Is My Mistress tells a story about Norman Grant's as my first all manager in the 60s. He made me more money than anything. He never took a percentage of my earnings. But we had a tip one day in and Norman dismissed me.

Speaker So no woman would be drugged with someone, so therefore. For 30 years, people have asked me, what does this cover Sara Long looks like?

Speaker And Jim Myanma or Ella, it looks like someone's, you know, made and what? I thought this guy was an art collector.

Speaker What happened on covers was that Norman take them and theoretically. Ella didn't want to bother mom. I don't. I can't give an answer. I don't think if we give you this.

Speaker I don't think the way it's been written about, so. In fact, I asked Norman to pick out something for the house.

Speaker Oh, the veining. Yeah, it's. I think Avella had told me the story in. Yes, in the 60s. Ellen got her first house in Beverly Hills and.

Speaker Fetuses always by the house one day and Alice said no. You know a lot of art. Once you figure out something for this wall over here. It's okay. It's a nice party and. Even in those days, no, he spent a lot of time in Europe. So he picked out. A so that he up would fit, and in those days it was only only 20, 30 thousand dollars. And he brought it and features it, went to the house and hung it up, and Ella looked at it and said, that's nice. How much is it? He said, Thirty thousand dollars. No, no, no, no, no, no. I don't like it that much.

Speaker There was. Record sales. U.S. versus foreign.

Speaker Well, record sales in general, the Verve period, which is still the period. I'm a believer because I've seen it in my lifetime. Records that I've made 30 years ago have been reissued in my lifetime. Singers to me and Norman and I used to talk about like classical players. The older you get, the more you really get to know about the piece. Ella singing Love for Sale in 1955 as opposed to nineteen eighty for me. But this is become the verb period. The quintessential where her voice was pristine. The later stuff, and I'm sure after I'm gone, we'll be rediscovered as the goods as it was with Billie Holiday when Norman did or adverb that he was castigated as on her deathbed. He dragged her in the studio to record her where as when you listen to the Columbia thing. They sound rather vapid compared to the later things with. Record sales across the world have always been larger in Europe and Japan because jazz has been accepted and well received there. Like so many musics. Here, the sales are good to you. What happens is that concert was. And artists like Ella. As Norman made her an artist. The recompense, the money became very vague and the record sells. It's not like a pop group where you have to have a hit record to get people into the seats of an auditorium. And what? So that. The sales themselves are. In one hundred years, all these things will still be in catalogs, in selling, because the ELA things that were done 50 years ago are still selling and they never stop because they about. Back in wrong's in L.A., and they see is every 10 years, a new audience discovers them. And there is a trend in the pop world, the kind of cross collateralize is where people say, oh, this is the originator of this kind of thing, like swinging music today. That is a hip thing. Well, in the meantime, Count Vaizey never stop selling. But it's not a pop record, and those pop records will disappear. There are fans from these records who may discover Count Vaizey and Jimmy Lunsford, etc..

Speaker Norman made Ella an artist. People will get feedback. What do you mean?

Speaker Oh, no, no, I'm not talking Pygmalion or Rasputin or I'm saying he wanted. Her not to be categorized as a jazz singer. Everyone in music like yourself. There's. You say a word and it could be. I like country music. Well, what kind of country music? Jazz, the same thing. When you look at the roster of people that Norman was recording during the L-A time, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young and Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge and Oscar Peterson, that added the data. Ella had, as we were saying before, a combination of things. That. Made it possible for her to transcend that terrible but true line, the color or otherwise, of. Saloon singer and in the sadly bad way. And I think. It means not that he didn't love Billie Holiday or Helen Helms. Norman told me once he tried to excuse me.

Speaker Thank you. Right here. OK, just on.

Speaker He had tried once to record Dinah Washington and talk to her then husband. Nooran brought. Business to something that was his passion. And certain artists, you have to finally say to yourself. I love this person. But this is who they are. And this person.

Speaker You can not.

Speaker And it's not.

Speaker That they're a bad person, having the totality of an artist is Ella did.

Speaker And something obviously moved to.

Speaker What it was, I like you and everyone. What? When did it happen? What was. But as I said earlier, when I was going through these downbeats and as much as I've read and known and having as a child seeing Ella in 1953. That Elam has always been. Allan, I mean, that's the consistent. And I think that's what he saw something then. That wasn't around even in the, quote, pop world, except by a few people. But he didn't. Take her away from jazz at the Phil either so she can play the Fairmont and do concerts with the Boston Pops and still jam with Karbasi, because that's the unique part of that.

Speaker Helen and Norman were fun. Yes. Yeah, I know.

Speaker I remember as a kid. It's like the time you sit around a table and you look at you've been a father and grandmother and there's a smile, there's a look, there's a warm something that. People think, what do you have to do? Send something from Cardi A. or hug them a lot or kiss her in public or. No, no. The respect, the admiration, the warmth. Yes, I know they did. I know they did. And it also is one of those things.

Speaker That I think part of the ambivalence of being a manager, producer of lots of people, too. And Ella is. In a way, you have to keep a certain distance. Plus. You ask anyone on the business side. Norman Grande's fought for his people. And the artists knew that Ellis certainly knew that no one ever doubted. That all of a sudden he would turn left on never.

Speaker You know, normally for a long time. Why did he fight segregation?

Speaker From what I've read and from talking to them, I used to. I'm an early morning guy. Like you say, late, early mornings and then disappear in the daytime, as Norman used to say, it was the Artful Dodger in the daytime. And I get him talking about the in the tease in the early days of jazz to Phil. With Norman. Things like that. Very cut. Do unto others. And the discussion, this was not in his life. When you combine that with.

Speaker Something you have a passion for and business sense and. A stop sign. So I think it's always interesting that people who. Want to castigate someone who is business like so artists are supposed to be.

Speaker Well. It doesn't work like that. Unfortunately.

Speaker If you don't take care of business, then you don't have the money to record. You don't have the money to do tours, etc. and. Normal would be when he came to Los Angeles. He came in at six, seven in the morning so he could call Europe in New York. And what this was an ongoing thing. All of his life. It's not about harassing people. It's about. He believe, as I do a good deal, everybody scores. But there will be no second class treatment.

Speaker Forget about the.

Speaker No one else was bothering him. And he isn't going to make any more money that way. In fact, he might lose. So what were their motivation?

Speaker I don't know. Where? But I know it's always been there and I know it's unwaivering. And I know in the same way when we were talking about in the studio, he was not.

Speaker Didactic in the sense of my way. But certain inherent principles. He couldn't believe in and I don't know if this is important, is where it came from. If it was a family thing, a gene thing or what. But it's never left because I've seen them recently. I see him. I talk to him. These things are a given. If if this is not possible, we do not do the date.

Speaker What kinds of things would that be?

Speaker First class hotels, transportation. We're not talking about. Lear jets and Khady Jewels. But we're talking about civility. Just as you would do for any artist of that stature, Furia and the stories are legion. I've in my time with Don was part of some of. Again, the hotel concierge or an airline? No, that was unacceptable.

Speaker What would they do? That would be an unacceptable.

Speaker There's a famous story before I was working with Norman. They were going to Japan in the days of the PanAm Clippers and Ella and Norman and Pete got bumped. No one took out an ad again. This is it. 50 years full page New York Times at all to one trip. Who was the head of Vandam at the time? That he was going to sue for discrimination, etc..

Speaker Why did he do it? Because he believes that it's. He won't live like that and he won't accept it for his people ever.

Speaker What other kinds of behavior where he refused to.

Speaker There are. Excitable alliances. And there's things that get out of hand. It's interesting when you listen to the early jazz at the film things. You have to remember that. In the black experience, this is a huge lift when you see pictures of the crowds. When you think about the Shrine Auditorium here in L.A., 7000 seats being sold out, two nights to see Coleman Hawkins and Don Byers and Lester Young. And what and you see the pictures, the black people, the white people, the days where everyone wore a tie and a hat. But the audience is. This there was no television and this is where they had their hero. To.

Speaker But that had to be.

Speaker Again, with Dauman considered. Right. If.

Speaker The contract read there was a drum kit in this P.A. did that, and if there wasn't, there was no show.

Speaker The call was.

Speaker As you said, no one else was doing it.

Speaker That's more to the point. Why it took 30 or 40 years before, quote, jazz festivals were invented. Festivals are a group of people around the table. It's interesting that they started in Newport with the cigarette families that are now being sued by most all. The concept of somebody actually saying no. But it's like anything once the economics, he was a power. Booking halls around the world. So the stories of once you've become acceptable were acceptable, means that you spent a lot of money there. Yeah, that's it. It wasn't as convoluted as when you read back.

Speaker In the jazz journals of the time. The show was there. And obviously worth.

Speaker Obviously worked.

Speaker So that's really what he said. A good show. Yeah, that's right. You describe Norman as a nice man.

Speaker What is nice?

Speaker Well, I've heard people say. So strange combination, Norman, and.

Speaker So, you know, it reminds me of when you were young.

Speaker And you see a married careful and you say, what does she see in him? What does he see in her?

Speaker Thousands of years is called for us, it let the poets write it. Love. What puts people together? To me, it's very easy. The thing that glued it was the passion for music. Hopefully with a lot of things we don't know about, but. That is a start and someone who cares. Maybe more for you than you care for you. So LSD should have had, like a nice manager and she'd still be playing for one hundred twenty Fifth Street as being facetious. Now, it is part of the myth of what we want from everyone. We want a nice and friendly, but not too friendly, but not and not too successful as normal and got where he didn't. Have to be nice. But if he wasn't nice before, why should he be nice? Now? But nice means. No one is very easy to deal with. You know, all the parameters. He is not. As I said earlier, I want a dozen Faberge eggs dropped. It's business. These things have to happen. We don't play. I mean, that's straight ahead. What's much more difficult? He is calling places where everybody deals by committee and you can't get a straight answer and goes on like the time Norman stormed out of Russia. Know, sir.

Speaker Oscar Peterson, we take you to stop. So just your speed.

Speaker You saw Alan Duke and the Cote d'Azur. I had asked never once because I had seen it many years ago. The scene where Dukane Neuro are walking through the garden.

Speaker And I said. And you get there.

Speaker So I call in and say, hey, we don't they don't come hang at the mag. Oh, okay. In about 76. They made a deal for Oscar to flee in Russia and.

Speaker There was a survey, one of the points of the deal, was it yet to go to their Hermia Times to see the paintings, which I don't know if it's apocryphal or what. So they did a couple of dates and I'm up early one morning. I see on the news. First of all, I thought maybe Norman bought Russia or something.

Speaker That.

Speaker Jazz impresario storms out of Russia. And then so the more I read The New York Times, I'm in L.A.. We get the L.A. Times. And I'm figuring, no, leave him alone for three days. Attila the Hun with me. What happened, though, is basically what we're talking about. They did a concert in Finland. I think it till then they go to Moscow killer. They go another place. They come back and they moved in two quarters that we're not livable.

Speaker His name is so.

Speaker They want to leave and there's KGB guys saying that they can't.

Speaker Oscar is a Canadian citizen more again than what they call the Canadian embassy. They get sent over a car and I think it was Niels Fenderson and Jay Canada, the drummer. They go down, they get in a limo, they go to the Canadian embassy. And the Russians are trying all these diplomatic things. Should it call me, I probably could.

Speaker And.

Speaker They caught a flight in the Canadian flag limo to the airport. Back to Paris or somewhere. So.

Speaker A guy in Finland recorded the concert unbeknownst to no one on the side of the stage.

Speaker And had given it.

Speaker I think he gave it maybe to Norman or one of the guys they give back to the states and they find the tape. So Norman says he won't listen. See if anything's good. So I go through there's a lot of good things that Oscar saw did. So he puts it out.

Speaker And Oscar Peterson in Russia in Cyrillic. And as producer, it's Norman Grande's Zemsky.

Speaker That's the story. Never arrested.

Speaker No. Ella was out. He turned out a lot of I remember. She never played South Africa. And he was offered, you know, tons. And she didn't want to go in, Norman. And I remember him saying once, because I think Sinatra played it one of those places once.

Speaker And he said he and Allah had talked and she was kind of disappointed that senator did that because he, first of all, didn't need the money. And why would you do that?

Speaker None of these things.

Speaker Were. Without her knowledge. Really? And especially later in her career.

Speaker Well, no one always said, you know, years later that people badmouth me for putting this old lady on the stage, eloquent, say hi. She would not, as most artists like that are they? That's what they do.

Speaker That's what they do.

Speaker You mentioning those? They would have been caught.

Speaker Here's the synopsis. When Norman was selling Verve.

Speaker He was already living in Europe for a long time. And. They had a few offers. And senator was interested. And at the time, Norman's lawyer, Mickey Rooney, was Sinatra's lawyer.

Speaker They met.

Speaker Obviously, they were too close to me, the same in certain areas.

Speaker It was off. So they via. And.

Speaker He later sold to MGM for what he said he never believed that they'd pay that much money. Which they did. So in the early 70s, we did concert a week, I think, at the Euros Theater in New York, Senator and Basey and Ella. It was like the NATO talks. In between. No one scores. You tell him I'll sing this.

Speaker They didn't get along. That's all it is, a major, major day.

Speaker They didn't cause. I read that she also wanted to record with Mel Torme, and now that's Mel talking.

Speaker No, Ella could not say no to anyone. And I'm saying this because she's just a sweet person, backstage would come known singers groups. What? Oh, Ella. I'd love to do something with you. Oh, of course. Of course. Call Norman. If Ella had really wanted to record with anyone.

Speaker She would have made it happen. I don't believe.

Speaker Because I was there. I don't believe that there is any kind of hold on.

Speaker You can record with him and not with her.

Speaker Most of them were just things, I think, that she said, being kind to people.

Speaker Yes. Let's do something.

Speaker Okay. Uh.

Speaker I just wanted to comment on certain people. Oh, the best of the best.

Speaker The art of playing with the singer, which Tommy is a genius.

Speaker That's why when you surround yourself with people like that to have we're talking about recording to have that ability where a look or a smile transcends having to say anything.

Speaker Talmage is the best. And. I think the warmth. It is obvious, it's obvious to me, because I've done this.

Speaker This is what I do. You could hear it in the flying and in the same when somebody is comfortable.

Speaker You record through a year off and you do 10 nights. And a lot of the songs are the same and none of them were bad. But somewhere except.

Speaker How you wouldn't change your.

Speaker I hear a queasiness, though. Oh, that's up.

Speaker Oh. What about the cash register? I mean it that we get the girls from the London house that I was dropped to during the Valot trades.

Speaker Yes. Portsmouth.

Speaker Folks who I met who played with Ella after Tommy and who had recorded with her in the 50s for. Yeah. Five one.

Speaker I don't want to touch this too much.

Speaker Joe. My God.

Speaker When I met Norrin and we start talking about Apollo, I actually started working for him going through the tape vaults a couple of years before Apollo became a label.

Speaker And he had said to me, Do you know Joe pacifies or.

Speaker Since the latest is I've been a fan and he had just hit home and he was already thinking about you with L.A.. And I've said it before, I did a joke past Vox Forcedly Vox recently. Because not only all the stuff that Norman recorded, I did about ten or twelve. This was Joe, so I knew him for 30, 40 years.

Speaker He made.

Speaker Oscar Peterson played better. He made everyone play better. One of these people who all the players were raised who could not think of a guitar for two months and it didn't matter. Had a natural feel.

Speaker For music. And I miss him a lot.

Speaker Ellen is very fond of Joe. They did do it on the road sometimes. And actually right here, about six blocks from here, is a place called the Westwood Playhouse where I recorded Oscar. I grew up in L.A. I was there for a week with a trio of Paul Smith and Joe. She was very funny. And he gave her. So to me, we're talking about Ali's voice. And she got olders. There's a deepness, there's a throating that I find it zingers. Very attractive. It's much more comfortable feel when you hear her sing lush life. She isn't me at that time in her life. Then much earlier and Joe, like Tommy Flanagan. That's sympatico ability to play with someone, to play with someone and for someone as opposed to be in competition with someone and all. Yeah, they were both fond of each other very much.

Speaker Oscar Peterson.

Speaker Oh, Oscar is just.

Speaker I always want to defend Oscar Peterson, who needs no defending who is just the greatest thing there is who has been called. He placed too many notes. He doesn't swing. In the 50s, when I was buying records, the Ellen Luly records, the Ella things that Oscar Peterson Buddy Rich. It proves that a sensitive flower is a sensitive flower. They, too, had a long. Mutual admiration society. Ellen. Because the great players listen. That's the difference in that Joe and Tommy and Oscar for sure. When you listen. To the Ella and Oscar, they do a thing and there is Bass and Gray was on some tracks of far below.

Speaker That's.

Speaker If people would listen to that people get hung up and categorize, it is easier to call. Oscar Peterson the first few hours later and. Having heard him first in fifty two or three and getting the joy of recording him for twenty five years, I think there's rarely an artist who has grown as much as Oscar in lots of ways. But still, luckily, most music fans don't read the jazz magazines.

Speaker Ella and Shelby.

Speaker I was never with them in Rio, it Norman, I guess, had been in Rio the late 50s on. As he was in most things, the forerunner of. But Val, Valentijn, tell me about a tour. Early 60s, I think, in the South America, and Ella was just taken with the music is your beam and. And what and she is me.

Speaker Everyone.

Speaker Coming to L are the ones who didn't know her for a minute, were expecting something and Ella was just.

Speaker Ella. So as you've been. Coming, I know he was at our house was.

Speaker And he was saying.

Speaker That JVM just couldn't get over that. She was playing a role of just the nice. This was just L.A. and that's it. And she loved that music very much.

Speaker Ella and her performances were symphonies. Scuse me once.

Speaker The 70s were all. Book way in advance. Peter Carroll on the charts like anything else. They were very meticulous. Things were sent to the Boston Pops or the Rochester or wherever it like.

Speaker Most artists who are really, really interested liked a variety of things. When I mentioned the Westwood Playhouse before, it's this wonderful little theater right near here near UCLA, 500 seats, kind of raised seating. Artists liked to play small places to be size halls that have 5000 seats.

Speaker And what are.

Speaker I think she enjoyed hearing a lot of those charts that were written by Nelson Riddle and guys, because a lot you No. One did several. Orchestral things.

Speaker But most of the public things were smaller dates, and I think she just like doing that as a change of pace to be in Toronto or Boston or wherever.

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker I know nothing. All of it, except I'm willing to bet Norman got her a lot of money.

Speaker Yeah.

Speaker Phenomenal things, she suddenly becomes.

Speaker No. Again. Yeah, yeah, that's what I was saying earlier, about every 10 years, an audience v. it what it may, she had never left, but this thing made her something else.

Speaker I don't know why, you know, but I'm sure the advertising guy who's probably unemployed at the moment. Got a lot of points for the time. Anyway, I don't know the American first things that you say at the end, the Annie Lee was picture of L.A. that they got more mail on those things. I was at the office once and Mary Jane, who ran the office, Mary Jane out of for years, Zella's office. American Express was I mean, they were in. I don't know. I think. Ella.

Speaker In her.

Speaker The voice declined. What was she like in those later performances? How would you describe?

Speaker I'll tell you honestly. Norman. Honestly tried. From the early 80s on. To get her to retire.

Speaker And he was turning down gigs and.

Speaker Ella called and said, I want to work. So she had gone through a bunch of things and glaucoma. Then she was on this weight thing where she got frail like one concert, she also fell. She had to sit. And that's when, as I said before, when Norman said he could see what people were saying, look what he's doing to that poor girl. She.

Speaker Was adamant about workI. Period. Period. And.

Speaker He couldn't deny that.

Speaker Her. Oh, yes.

Speaker She meant to break out all kinds of crazy, yeah. So severe. Yeah. That were expression about.

Speaker She was naturally so joyful. And in the end, I'm serious. That. It's I mean, there was no guile at all. So that every one of these things. Was meaningful to her. She was not of the ilk of going backstage and throwing the thing at no. How nice of these people to give me this award. What happens is that you only have so much time to do what? No, no, no, no. She hung these things at her house and she had them and she was grateful. She really was.

Speaker Yeah. As I told you, I spoke to Norman Granz. And he was completely negative. Why do you think that's. Well.

Speaker Let me cut to the chase. His line. Completely negative. He loved the woman, he loved her voice. He loved what she did. He's been ill a long time. The negativity. I can't believe. I mean, I can't speak for him, but I am obviously at this moment. He was negative, I think, because at this moment he's in pain and negative about almost everything. Hopefully you'll get to talk to him again. I saw too much love in carrying in admiration and symbiotic things to make me believe that he's me. Is negative because he's sorry that a lot of his pals are gone and. He's 81. I think we talk once on the phone about I had made a tape of. Like 40 years of introductions of Ella. Oh, yeah. The greatest thing there is the best thing. I mean, you make it. He he's trying to keep his World Curmudgeon Award. I think.

Speaker How did you hear about Ellen's death?

Speaker I went to the office and missed it on the radio. And.

Speaker But.

Speaker The last couple of years. Because I was privy to a lot of it wasn't in the press when she was in and out of the hospital and as these things were happening. I had always hoped, as you do it, some kind of Ruby Keeler movie that she had gone onstage, you know. Doing C jam blues. And I had always hoped for Roy Eldridge to was my man who I love very much because people like that. That is their life at all. She was in lots of pain and uncomfortable for a long time. It's kind of in essence, what I feel being as close to a parental thing where it never really leaves you. But on the other hand, I am so lucky because. Not only do I have the music that was done, I have music that was never released that no one else has heard. So Ella for me, will always be around.

Speaker And what do you think, the legacy?

Speaker I think just like Locke and Beethoven, Ella will survive at all there. It's something that transcends the best voice in the world. The totality of what she had. There's something that just touched people. And that's it's a civil war, an eloquent is that and it's as difficult to put in a word. Because. There are, quote, better singers or singers who could speak louder or more notes or what? Oh, this is just a rare individual and. And I think the comparisons. For a long time. Will always be there. She's trying to sound like Ella. Who's going to be the next Ella? Yes, she left wonderful things, and I'm certain. As I said, things aren't popular to the a lot of stuff that was passed over at the time. That critics will find later that they never really listened to what the GOP has asked his staff. That was just categorized as. She's over the hill, which to me, they were way off.

Speaker Think he'll ever be another?

Speaker I don't want to compare moats are. There'll be someone.

Speaker What is the expression you can't do anything again? You can do something similar.

Speaker That's another.

Speaker OK. Tom Cruise, please. Oh, sure.

Speaker Yeah. Let me set it down. Just look at it, OK?

Speaker What was the arrangement between Norman and Ella?

Speaker Norman Grande's, as far as I know. In the 30 years I've been around, had maybe three or four contracts with anyone.

Speaker Everything was a handshake. And.

Speaker No one ever sued him for not being paid. What the arrangement? I only know of. I know nothing about. Does the artist. Producer arrangement, the artist management arrangement. I will say that Normy Grans made Ella a very wealthy woman. But nothing ever to worry about.

Speaker Ever, ever, ever.

Speaker Now I can be quiet. Don't freak out. 20 seconds. I can't drink. I can't. It is a real time.

Eric Miller
Interview Date:
1999-04-01
Runtime:
1:20:04
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-gt5fb4x83n, cpb-aacip-504-sq8qb9vx01, cpb-aacip-504-x921c1vb9k
MLA CITATIONS:
"Eric Miller, Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 01 Apr. 1999, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/504
APA CITATIONS:
(1999, April 01). Eric Miller, Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/504
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Eric Miller, Ella Fitzgerald: Something to Live For." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). April 01, 1999. Accessed June 28, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/504

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