It had been a few years since I'd done an Ella birthday tribute on my show, and yesterday, I included two really jumping live cuts from a 1960 Berlin date, "Mack the Knife" and "How High the Moon." What a memory refresher--would that be called hindhearing? As with most of the giants of jazz, it's obvious that I need to air this artist more often, just like it's obvious that there's not enough time in the day to do so.
Hearing Ella's utter ease as a performer, where she's making up phrases in "Mack the Knife" (because the song was done as a request) is such a joy. Not to mention her scat singing, her Louis Armstrong impression and the chances she takes when she's swinging high and free. I'm almost always knocked out by her inventiveness, and Ella's vocal stretching, where you think she's gone as far as she can and then kicks it up still another notch, sounds to me like a technique she passed along to Steve Wonder.
Indeed, with a voice like Ella's ringing out, there's no way the band can lose (insert whoopee whistle noise here).