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« The New York School Diaspora (Part Twelve): John Gallaher [by Angela Ball] | Main | An Introduction to John Tranter (Part 1) [by Thomas Moody] »

August 03, 2021


I was just spending my afternoon listening to Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington and the great Ella Fitzgerald. Incomparable Ella! Pure, perfect, beautiful music.

Thank you for commenting, Emily. We agree! I love the Ella and Louis duets, to which Stacey and I were listening when driving the other day. And Duke Ellington: do you know his "Black, Brown, and Beige" which he wrote for his Cargenie Hall reciutal in 1943? Stirring stuff. I'm working on a poem about it.

I do not know "Black, Brown, and Beige". There is a youtube clip of Duke Ellington and the magnificent Ella on the old Ed Sullivan Show. She sings, "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" and it is one of the greatest examples of vocal virtuosity on record. (And I am a Maria Callas fan!) There is also Ella's 7 minute version of "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered." What pure, free, incomparable singing.

Ella is probably the greatest of all the great female vocalists of whom I am so passionately fond, a list that includes, just from the 40s, big band singers Doris Day, Jo Stafford, Helen Forrest,Lee Wylie, Anita O'Day. Ella's "songbooks" are the best intro you can have to Cole Porter, the Gershwins,Rodgers & Hart, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, and Harold Arlen.

The Great American Songbook and the singing of those Great Ladies are true Wonders of the Western World! The great jazz and blues singers, too. Ella did it all! Thank you for your passionate post. I enjoyed it.

You've inspired me to listen to Armstrong today, David. I wonder what you think of Miles Davis' take on him. In his autobio, Miles both embraces and rejects his great forbearer.

Thank you, Jack. I think it's possible to like both Satchmo and Miles!

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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