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Carnegie Hall in full swing for Ella

tribute concert

July 11, 1996
Web posted at: 6:15 a.m. EDT

From Correspondent Mark Scheerer

NEW YORK (CNN)--Velvety echoes of Ella Fitzgerald's vocals rang through Carnegie Hall Tuesday as the music world began a two-night tribute to the legend who helped define jazz as America's classical music.

The performers came from far and wide to honor the first lady of song.

Fitzgerald, who had suffered from complications of diabetes for years, died on June 15 at the age of 79. However plans for the tribute had been under way for nearly a year.

Fitzgerald last performed at Carnegie hall in 1991. Over the years, her voice filled the magnificent hall no fewer than 26 times.

Wherever she performed, Fitzgerald inspired more than one generation of musicians.

"She was a very shy woman, and she found it hard to talk to people. But boy, did she talk to us through her songs."

-- Ann Hampton Callaway


She had a voice for the ages.

"Actually, I only saw her once," said Diana Krall. "It was at the Orpheum in Vancouver when I was 15 years old, and what I saw in her was the joy of what she was doing."

Fitzgerald loved to weave her own melodic inventions into her performances. Her scat singing earned ovations.


"Her improvisational skills, you can't beat them," said Karrin Allyson. "She was a pioneer; I loved her interaction with her bandmates. She wasn't just a girl singer singing up front; she was one of the musicians."

Despite her fame, Fitzgerald guarded her privacy jealously and did not invite discussion of her private life.

She found her voice through lyrics.

"She was a very shy woman, and she found it hard to talk to people," said Ann Hampton Callaway. "But boy, did she talk to us through her songs."

Special tribute:

Link to special tribute section

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