Black History Month: GospeLive Celebrates "The First Lady of Song" Ms. Ella Fitzgerald
GospeLive salutes this great lady of song, her style was incomparable, and she has set a template for jazz artist worldwide. Ella Fitzgerald was one of the greatest singers who ever lived. She sang the popular songs of her time, she sang Jazz and Pop and Rock-and-Roll and Blues and Gospel and songs just for kids.
On April 25, 1917, jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald is born in Newport News, Virginia.She was called "The First Lady of Song," an honor whose meaning is captured in a compliment paid to her by the great composer Ira Gershwin: "I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them." Quite apart from the quality of her voice, there was a warmth and intelligence behind it that gave even melancholy songs a plausible tilt toward optimism. Billie Holliday or Frank Sinatra might fully inhabit the dark side of a torch song, but Fitzgerald, in the words of the critic Frank Rich, "could turn any song into an oxygen rush of bouncing melody that reached the listener's ears as pure, untroubled joy—the eternally young sound of a young country."
Ella's own life as a young woman, though, was far from untroubled. Her mother, Temperance "Tempie" Fitzgerald, migrated north to Yonkers, New York, shortly after Ella was born, and Ella spent her childhood there aspiring to be a dancer and traveling frequently into nearby Harlem, where she would one day get her big break. But Ella very nearly fell through the cracks. Tempie Fitzgerald died in 1932, leaving her 15-year-old daughter orphaned, broke and vulnerable at a very dangerous time in American history--the very low point of the Great Depression. Ella was taken in at first by an aunt in Harlem, but she soon dropped out of school and ran into trouble with the law while working as a lookout in a bordello and courier for a local numbers-runner. She was placed in the Riverdale Colored Orphan Asylum but soon ran away from that facility, which earned her a trip upstate to a tough reformatory near Albany called the New York State Training School for Girls.
Ella Fitzgerald never spoke publicly about this period in her life, and she certainly never betrayed any hint of it in her performances. It lends an incredible backdrop, however, to the oft-repeated story of the Apollo Theater Amateur Night performance in 1934 that put her on a path toward stardom. Still technically a ward of the State of New York, Ella was officially paroled in 1935 to Chick Webb's orchestra, the group she would make her name with over the next seven years.
Born on this day in 1917, Ella Fitzgerald passed away in 1996 at the age of 79 in Beverly Hills, California.
ELLA FITZGERALD & FRANK SINATRA – AT THEIR BEST
Painting courtesy of: Sharon Maguire the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation Education Consultant and Foundation Artist
When I think about Martin Luther King, rarely, if at all do I think of him in a jazz context. However, several years ago, when word of MLK's opening remarks at the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival began to circulate, MLK and Jazz became top of mind for jazz "apprecianados" everywhere. Wow..it was truly amazing; speech.Thanks to some painstaking research by saxophonist David Demsey and drummer Bruce Jackson, under the auspices of William Patterson University, the true origin and nature of King's speech has been revealed. Read the full transcript of his 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival Address below.
God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create—and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed man to cope with his environment and many different situations.Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life's difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.
This is triumphant music.
Modern jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among American Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of racial identity as a problem for a multiracial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.
Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from this music. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.
And now, Jazz is exported to the world. For in the particular struggle of the Negro in America there is something akin to the universal struggle of modern man. Everybody has the Blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith. In music, especially this broad category called Jazz, there is a stepping stone towards all of these.
Dr. Martin Lurther King Jr.
GospeLive Productions and Entertainment
RENAISSANCE BRUNCH PRESENTS: Harlem GospeLive! Featuring Maurice Lynch and Dawn Tallman from GospeLive Productions in NYC.
The Renaissance Gospel Brunch Sunday May 25, 2014 in Harlem,New York will be featuring Maurice Lynch and Dawn Tallman performing the music of Harlem GospeLive and Traditional Gospel numbers enjoy and exciting set of songs of uplift, including their new duo-single release of all-time gospel favorite “Oh Happy Day!”
Veteran performer Maurice Lynch is known for his stage presence, versatility and unique vocal style. He’s the Musical Director of “The Harlem GospeLive Revue” that premiered at The Blue Note in New York in 2006. Receiving overwhelming reviews, the show was an instant hit. Music industry icon Dawn Tallman will also be showcased at Harlem GospeLive. She has had several Billboard Hits in House Music and mainstream Gospel. Dawn’s unique style and vocal power of their duo will delight and renew your spirit.
Chef Kennth Collins(formerly of Ida Mae’s and Gospel Uptown in Harlem) presents and all-you-can-eat buffet stations featuring delectable Omlets & Waffles, Market to table inspired Salad Station, and Lunch Entrees.
Music sets at 12 pm & 2pm. 29.99 includes Entertainment, All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, Coffee/Tea/Soft Drink(tax Gratuity not included)
For more information on this single release of “OH HAPPY DAY”, and more on The Wonderful World of GospeLive this season, please visit, www.gospelive.com. " Oh Happy Day" is available through CD Baby, Itunes, Amazon and other online retailers.
For media inquiries contact:
Alex Turkujas (Turcola) – Director of Marketing & Sales, GospeLive Productions and Entertainment, New York City 212-920-4282 or email@example.com
Youtube Promotional Video - CLICK HERE
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