Friday, February 4, 2011


My family is on a first-name basis with Ella Fitzgerald. Not because we knew or even met her, but because my father has always been in the habit of referring to her--with great reverence--simply as "Ella." When he says, "I've been listening to Ella," or "I watched a documentary about Ella," we know exactly what he's talking about. Because there is only one Ella. Her gifts were completely unique. There was no one like her.

When my nephew came home from school one day singing "A-Tisket A-Tasket," my brother naturally asked him where he had heard it. He told my brother that his music teacher had played the song, sung by Ella Fitzgerald, in that day's music class. My brother phoned my father immediately to tell him the news--and this sort of thing definitely qualifies as news in my
family--about the wonderful music teacher and the latest addition to the Gold family Ella fan club.

A 2007 NPR segment describes the career and gifts of the great Ella. And in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month in 2008, NPR made available for streaming five Ella classics, including "Something's Gotta Give" and "It Don't Mean a Thing." Make your day by taking some time to listen.

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