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Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella.)
She required total respect and apparently she got what she gave, as Frank Sinatra described her when he was in love - ‘She had the most gorgeous voice I have ever heard, and I have heard some beauties’. Ella returned the compliment, writing: ‘He had a voice to die for! Filled with emotion, it was a gift from heaven.'
She also appeared with a wide variety of other artists, ranging from Judy Garland to the Four Freshmen, and she was well known for her delicacy and harmonies. But Ella always insisted the first function of a jazz singer was entertainer. “Yes, I sing,” she said in 1945, “but not only that. I sing when I emcee a ball game or I’m cheering someone up.”
Her comeback albums were well known for their raw, funky energy, and she experimented with several new genres of music, from soul to pop-influenced jazz. But her passion was always for the “profound, uplifting jazz.” d2c66b5586