Once, long ago, when I was little more than a callow coed, I spent two weeks with a newspaper photographer who lived in a trailer on the border. (You don't need to know why. Really. The details are not as interesting as you might think. Truly. So let your imagination soar.) This guy was mad, mad for Ella. He followed her when he wasn't working. He shot several of her album covers. Ella was always on his stereo. Always. There was never a moment of silence. I was confused. Puzzled. Perplexed. Ella? Why? Why not Helen Humes? Alberta Hunter? Billie? Ella? Ella? Square. That was the word for Miss Fitzgerald. Or so I thought. Then. Oh, silly, silly little blonde girl.
Now. Now, I am nearly as ardent about Ella as Tad. (Was that his name? Mmmm. I think so. Good photographer. Obviously.) When I am locked in a dark place, she unlocks the door. She reminds me not only that I can be better, but that I should be. She reminds me to reach for the stars. Because it's the right thing to do. Whether I ever catch one or not.
So. I have been reading about Miss Fitzgerald. Namely, Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz by Stuart Nicholson. Let me share these interesting tidbits about Ella:
From 1953 until the mid-70s, she was chosen as the top female vocalist by Down Beat critics poll.
Says pianist Jimmy Rowles: "She was always either singing or listening to music. . . . Music is everything."
So, dear readers, what do you think about Ella? Share. Please. I want to know. I wait, breath bated.