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Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz, Updated Edition

Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz, Updated Edition [Kindle Edition]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"That rarity among jazz biographies--a thoroughly researched and carefully considered study that is also a delightful read."-"Downbeat "Erudite and intelligent."-"Kirkus Reviews

Product Description

Stuart Nicholson's biography of Ella Fitzgerald is considered a classic in jazz literature. Drawing on original documents, interviews, and new information, Nicholson draws a complete picture of Fitzgerald's professional and personal life. Fitzgerald rose from being a pop singer with chart-novelty hits in the late '30s to become a bandleader and then one of the greatest interpreters of American popular song. Along with Billie Holiday, she virtually defined the female voice in jazz, and countless others followed in her wake and acknowledged her enormous influence. Also includes two 8-page inserts.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2288 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (22 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00M1TFP1W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #351,524 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book 11 Feb 2013
By chris
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very pleased with it - gift for husband he like's musician & singer biographies & autobiographies & is a blues fan
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Press Reviews 7 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ella Fitzgerald was nominated a `Notable Book of 1994' by The New York Times Review of Books

`In the words of Stuart Nicholson in Ella Fitzgerald, she disappears into the song, which makes biography a tricky enterprise. Mr. Nicholson does a very fine job with Ms. Fitzgerald. To his everlasting credit, he reveals the facts behind the copy forthrightly but never gloatingly. It was much harder than it seemed, becoming Ella Fitzgerald: finding the golden mean between girlish ebullience and matronly calm that suited her temperament but also became her shield.' Margo Jefferson, New York Times (USA)

`One of the best biographies of a jazz performer ever written.' Stage and Television Today

`Ella Fitzgerald is one of the very best biographies of any great American singer ever published.' Will Friedwald (author of Jazz Singing)

`One of the finest jazz nonfiction books concerning a female jazz vocalist.'

`A biography of erudition and style...a model, not only of research but of musical insight.' Dave Gelly, Observer

`Nicholson is erudite and intelligent...a valuable addition to the jazz bookshelf.' Kirkus Reviews (USA)

`Nicholson is a jazz buff and a shrewd critic.' The Times

`Excellent...[Nicholson] avidly communicates the luminosity and swing of the Fitzgerald sound.' The Seattle Times (USA)

`When it comes to the music, Nicholson is right on.' Washington Post (USA)

`The first factually reliable account of Ms. Fitzgerald's life.' Wall Street Journal (USA)

`Recommended.' Library Journal (USA)

`That rarity among jazz biographies: a thoroughly researched and carefully considered study of an artist that is also a delightful read...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An elusive look at an elusive life. 11 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on
The book is loaded with facts about Ms. Fitzgerald's concert and recording careers, but gives almost nothing about her personal life.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, enlightening, thoroughly researched. 4 April 2000
By Artist - Published on
I'd have given this book 4 1/2 stars given the option. The only reason I didn't give it 5 is that it gets somewhat dry towards the end, but I blame my attention span for some of that. It's full of fascinating stories, tidbits and opinions from musicians, producers, friends and agents who worked with Ella. You'll come away from the book with a new understanding of Ella the person and Ella the musician. You'll learn much about the times and the musicians who created the story of popular music and jazz in America. You'll also have a fascinating guide to her recorded music, the whys and the hows of it, the circumstances that made it wonderful or less than great. I recommend this book!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Bios 7 Oct 2002
By Mr. William C. Rapp - Published on
This is the best of the Ella bios. Authoritative, well-written, and insightful with a helpful discography. Avoid the much inferior "First Lady of Song" by Fidelman. THIS is the bio to buy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Research of original documents, photos, and interviews 7 Sep 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
The revised edition of this survey of jazz lady Ella Fitzgerald will appeal to any who haven't already gotten too many jazz biographies of Ella under their belts. Ella Fitzgerald defined the female voice in jazz, and Stuart Nicholson's biography was considered a classic in the genre. This updated edition includes further research of original documents, photos, and interviews to expand upon Ella's life.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Every step in recording studio and no other informations 30 Sep 2000
By Sasha - Published on
I read this book in for the first time in 1996. and now, second time around, still have the same feeling - Stuart Nicholson had obviously find easier to trace every step Ella Fitzgerald ever made in recording studio,than what she thought,felt and reasons behind her behaviour."A model in research and musical insight?" There is a year-by-year recording dates discography but not one single interview or even quotte!!Yes,Ella was a wonderful,gifted singer,but what eventually came out of this book (between the lines,if you bother to read) is that she was easily and ruthlessly pushed around by Norman Granz (manager) and made him a millionaire,toured 365 days in the year so Granz could collect Picasso paintings & move to Switzerland and that same Granz didnt have understanding for her,making a scene when she couldnt perform as her sister had just died (Duke Ellington stepped to protect her and got a slap on HIS nose instead).If Stuart Nicholson didnt have acces to do interview with Fitzgerald herself or at least some of her close friends,I wonder why did he bother to writte a book at all (just to dig some dirt & discover that she was - maybe?- a victim a child abuse,something that she kept behind her and didnt want to discuss,which we should understand and respect).No matter how appealing singer Ella was,I find repulsive idea of this big woman being lead around by her manager as beast of burden.And they said Billie Holiday was a tragic figure - hey, Billie at least had a good time! At the end of 245 pages,I find this book simply overrated - you can easily find Fitzgerald's discography in every jazz dictionary and perhaps as a subject of his book Nicholson should have consider Norman Granz instead.
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