Ella Fitzgerald: How High the Moon


How High the Moon


Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)


Ella Fitzgerald 1947-1948 (Classics 1049)

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Ella Fitzgerald (vocals), Idrees Sulieman (trumpet), Ray Brown (bass),

others unidentified


Composed by Nancy Hamilton & Morgan Lewis


Recorded: New York, December 20, 1947


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

This 1940 Broadway show tune became so ubiquitous in jazz that, just before Christmas 1947, Ella Fitzgerald recorded it with a small combo; the next day, June Christy covered it with Stan Kenton's big band; and Anita O'Day quickly completed the trifecta. Yet even after Les Paul & Mary Ford's 1951 #1 pop hit, "How High the Moon" was for jazz fans from 1948 onward most closely identified with Fitzgerald. Effortlessly adopting bebop's musical vocabulary to her Swing Era sweetness, Ella interpolates Charlie Parker's 1946 "Ornithology" (based on the same chord changes) and Ella-vates scat singing from novelty to high art.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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Related Links

The Legacy of Ella Fitzgerald by Ted Gioia
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Ella Fitzgerald Performances by Stuart Nicholson
”Ella Fitzgerald” by Stuart Nicholson (from The Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians)

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