Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz

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Da Capo Press, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 334 pages
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The life of the very private and media-shy Ella Fitzgerald has long been shrouded in a mixture of half-truths and fiction. What emerges in Stuart Nicholson's groundbreaking biography - the first in more than a decade - is the remarkable and triumphant story of a poor black girl's determination to realize the American Dream in the face of constant racial and sexual prejudice. Now nearly eighty years old, Ella Fitzgerald is the definition of jazz singer to millions around the world, and acclaimed as one of the greatest of all jazz musicians. This is the fullest-ever account of Ella's life, and Stuart Nicholson draws almost exclusively on fresh research and on interviews with many of Ella's friends and colleagues who have not cooperated with other writers, including an interview with Norman Granz, Ella's longtime manager and the producer behind her legendary Songbook series. Within two years of her professional debut as a gauche sixteen-year-old, Ella had achieved stardom with a million-selling record. By the 1950s, she was feted by the rich and famous throughout the world and collaborating with all the greatest artists in jazz and popular music, from Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Yet, as Stuart Nicholson shows, while hailed abroad as a cultural ambassador for her country, she had to endure vicious racism at home, including a sensational arrest scandal on trumped-up charges in the Deep South. Nicholson examines the key influence upon Ella of bandleader Chick Webb, and provides the first in-depth analysis of Webb's career. He also considers Ella's complex relationship with Norman Granz, and traces her unhappy love life, involving two failed marriagesand a series of casual affairs. But above all Nicholson celebrates Ella's music, live and on record, highlighting her finest work and considering her alongside her great rival and fellow icon, Billie Holiday. Supplemented by an authoritative discography by noted jazz historian P
  

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Ella Fitzgerald: a biography of the first lady of jazz

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Ella Fitzgerald's hit song "A-Tisket, A-Tasket'' grabbed national attention in 1938, and over the next three decades she won much popular and critical acclaim. Born in poverty, she rose to perform at ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

19171950
2
19511955
14
1935
26
19351938
42
19581942
58
19421946
76
19461947
90
19471949
108
19551957
158
19571959
174
19601966
190
19641972
206
19721978
216
19781995
226
NOTES
246
DISCOGRAPHY
260

19491952
124
19521955
140

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About the author (1994)

Stuart Nicholson's books include Jazz: The 1980s Resurgence (also available from Da Capo /Perseus Books Group) and Billie Holiday. He lives in England.

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