Spread Christmas Cheer with Ella Fitzgerald

The silly season is round the corner and 2017 is on its way out – or are we on our way out of it? Whichever the case is, one thing is certain. For the international jazz community, 2017 was the year when we celebrated the 100 year anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday. Reissues, collections, box sets, concerts, there has been a centennary tribute every week someplace in the world – not that jazz needs a special occasion to celebrate Ella Fitzgerald; she’s the eternal beacon of jazz singing, the quintessential vocalist, the musician’s singer, the woman whose voice is always there to embrace us, comfort us, soothe us and bring us joy.

Of course, to be visiting this website, means that you probably already know all this – and already have some Ella Fitzgerald recordings in your collection. If not, welcome. Here is a song for you.

But even those who do have her music, may not have books about her. Here’s a small collection of books we found on Booktopia*.

Ella for beginners

Ella Fitzgerald – A Biography Of The First Lady Of Jazz

Stuart Nicholson is one of the most respected jazz authors around – mostly due to his masterfully opinionated work ‘Jazz and Culture in a Global Age‘ – although his ‘Jazz for beginners‘ is also a very enjoyable read. His biography of Ella is probably the best starting point to get to know the singer – and the person behind that.

Ella for hardcore fans

Ella Fitzgerald – An Annotated Discography

You think you know everything that Ella Fitzgerald ever recorded? Maybe you want to doublecheck, using J. Wilfred Johnson’s ultimate reference book. A complete discography, starting with the Chick Webb recordings and ending with all that is available on CD.

Ella for the Australian jazz history buff

Ella Fitzgerald in Australia – A History

Ella Fitzgerald visited Australia four times – in 1954, in 1960, in 1970 and in 1978 – and Dr Ian D. Clark sheds light to each of these tours, offering valuable insight on the impact, the press coverage, the audience reception, everything. Apart from info of specific Australian interest which are hard to find anyplace else, the book contains photos and press clippings, which makes it a must-have for every Australian jazz fan.

Ella for the aspiring vocalist

Ella Fitzgerald – Original Keys for Singers

You’re a singer at the beginning of your journey and you want to try and enter the realm of the first lady of song? Here’s your stepping stone, 25 of her signature tunes transcribed in the original keys for voice and piano. If you close your eyes you can imagine it’s Tommy Flanagan playing alongside.

Ella for children

One of the best things about this centennary is the abundance of books about Ella Fitzgerald addressed to kids from as early as 6 years old up to their pre-teen years. Because this is exactly what the world needs now – our children to be educated on the First Lady of Song and be inspired by her. ‘Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat‘ does exactly that, presenting Ella as the eternal role model that she is, telling the story of how she overcame adversity to become the singer in Chick Webb’s band. ‘The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa’, offers the story from a different perspective, as it is narrated by a cat – a feline cat, that is. ‘Ella Fitzgerald – First Discovery Music’ also serves a great introduction to scat singing – and comes with a 13 track CD. As for Ella’s inclusion in the – absolutely brilliant – ‘Little People, Big Dreams‘ series of books, this will not be available till March 2018. Just in time for Easter.
*AustralianJazz.net is a Booktopia affiliate.