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Silly Little Girls

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  • November 2012
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In 1934, after Chick Webb’s death, she took over his band. After she took over the band, she left four years later because she wanted to begin her solo career. By the late 1930s and early 1940s a new style of singing known as bebop emerged and it was beginning to make its mark. (Bebop is a style of jazz characterized by fast tempo, instrumental virtuosity and improvisation based on the combination of harmonic structure and melody; -from Wikipedia). During this time Ella became inspired by Gillespie, one of the most influential bebop musicians. She adapted to the new style quickly and soon began singing the way saxophonist and trumpeter played. During her time with Gillespie’s big band, she also used the style of scat singing that had been originally designed by Louis Armstrong. With this style of singing she could not be opposed by any other vocalist of the swing era because not only did she have the ability to mimic other artists, she could also mimic instruments. This is known from a 1960 recording, where she imitated the sound of a bass bowing a solo on “How High the Moon.” Ella met Ray Brown in 1946, not knowing she would marry him a year later. Ray Brown was a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s big band. He was also a bassist player. Ella and Ray married in 1947 but divorced six years later. A couple of months after her divorce, she became acquainted with Norman Granz. At the time Norman was a big time promoter/producer. He was responsible for a number of jazz concert series which was held at the philharmonic. He tired signing Ella plenty of times with his recording company “Verve Records” but she was always reluctant. Finally, in 1955 she accepted him as her manager when he convinced her that she was capable of more than just bebop. Granz and Ella produced several multi-album recordings while she was at Verve records. To be precise Ella produced multi-album recording because she was one who was doing all the singing. Although Granz contributed his contribution was...

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