A large, pleasant-looking woman with a surprisingly girlish speaking voice, Ella Fitzgerald had a propensity for forgetting lyrics. This endeared her to audiences, who delighted in her ability to work her way out of these selfpainted corners. Unlike some other great jazz singers (Billie Holiday, Anita O'Day), Fitzgerald had a private life devoid of drug-related notoriety. She was twice married: the first marriage, to Bernie Kornegay in 1941, was annulled two years later; the second, to bassist Ray Brown in 1948, ended in divorce in 1952 (they had one son).
Was Ella Fitzgerald essentially a jazz singer or a pop singer? Jazz purists say that she lacked the emotional depth of Billie Holiday, the imagination of Sarah Vaughan or Anita O'Day, and the blues-based power of Dinah Washington and that she was often facile, glossy, and predictable. The criticisms sprang partly from her "crossover" popularity and ignored her obvious strengths and contributions: Fitzgerald was not only one of the pioneers of scatsinging, but, beyond that, she was an unpretentious singer whose harmonic variations were always unforced and a supreme melodist who never let her ego get in the way of any song she sang.
Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia, the daughter of William Fitzgerald and Temperance "Tempie" Fitzgerald. Her parents were unmarried, and they had separated within a year of her birth. With her mother's new partner, a Portuguese immigrant named Joseph Da Silva, Ella and her mother moved to the city of Yonkers, in Westchester County, New York, as part of the first Great Migration of African Americans. Initially living in a single room, her mother and Da Silva soon found jobs and Ella's half-sister, Frances Da Silva, was born in 1923. By 1925, Fitzgerald and her family had moved to nearby School Street, then a predominantly poor Italian area. At the age of six, Fitzgerald began her formal education, and moved through a variety of schools before attending Benjamin Franklin Junior High School from 1929.
Fitzgerald had been passionate about dancing from third grade, being a fan of Earl "Snakehips" Tucker in particular, and would perform for her peers on the way to school and at lunchtime. Fitzgerald and her family were Methodists and were active in the Bethany African Methodist Episcopal Church, and she regularly attended worship services, Bible study, and Sunday school. The church would have provided Fitzgerald with her earliest experiences in formal music making, and she may have also had piano lessons during this period if her mother could afford it.
In her youth, Fitzgerald wanted to be a dancer, although she loved listening to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and The Boswell Sisters. She idolized the lead singer Connee Boswell, later saying, "My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it....I tried so hard to sound just like her."
Emission of television on a meeting of recording in studio in Germany (1974).
Ella Fitzgerald of the duet to the big band with according to pieces' Joe Pass (G), Tommy Flanagan (p), Keeter Betts (b), Bobby Durham (Dr.), Roy Eldridge (tp), Eddie Lockjaw Davis (ts), Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination & Brass