Ella Fitzgerald’s Signature Singing Style, Explained By Jazzmeia Horn

Ella Fitzgerald’s Signature Singing Style, Explained By Jazzmeia Horn


Greetings. I’m Jazzmeia Horn
and I’m here to talk about Ella Fitzgerald and the legacy of scat singing and improvisation. Ella Fitzgerald is one of the most important
jazz singers — or singers in jazz music — and she’s important because she’s known
for her improvisational skills and her storytelling. And she’s also called the lady of song. She was very childlike and fun and playful in what she did, and she made her own
and created her own legacy. There were no other singers on the scene
in 1934, ’35, ’36 doing what she was doing. And
one of the things that I took from Ella Fitzgerald was some of her phrasing and
a little bit of her vocabulary. And what that does is help to build your own
vocabulary. There is one song in particular that she really made famous,
which is entitled “Blue Skies,” and one of the phrases that she sang during her
scat solo sounded like this. [Scat singing] And what I did was listen to that and try to listen
to her phrasing and her sound and why she chose to sing certain syllables and put
emphasis on which downbeat and which phrase. [Scat singing] That is something that is hard to explain, but if you sit down and you listen and
listen and listen and listen and get it into your soul and get it into your
belly, eventually you’ll be able to improvise over chord changes and start to understand
structure and form and phrasing and diction. I’m particularly inspired by Ella Fitzgerald because of her sound and the quality of her sound
and the way she expressed herself when she was scat singing. It’s very fun and
interesting and inspiring, but we don’t have the same style at all.
I’m here in 2019 as a scat singer or as an improvisational musician expressing
myself in a different way as the times are different, but the music is somewhat
still the same. And I like to say that I am continuing the legacy or the
tradition of vocal improvisation. And now I’m going to show you exactly what I
mean by sharing with you a little bit of my way of improvising. And in the studio
today I have my friend Barry Stephenson, who is also going to join me on the bass. And we’re gonna play “Blue Skies.” [Bass playing] Blue days, all of ’em gone nothing but blue skies from now on. [Scat singing] Blue skies smiling at me. Nothing but blue skies do I see. Blue days, all of ’em gone. Bluebirds singing a song. All day from now on. I am very grateful for Ella Fitzgerald
and what she has done in the world and the music that she’s put out into the
universe. And one thing that she did was just held her own, you know.
She stepped out on the scene and approached the changes just like an
instrumentalist would, and that’s very rare even in society today. You know, you hear really beautiful singers
and they sing melodies really well. But Ella could not only sing a melody, she could scat
the hell out of some chord changes and sound just like an instrumentalist that
is not a vocalist. So, you know, that’s what you want to aim for when you’re
improvising. You want to be inspired — possibly by Ella Fitzgerald — and think
about owning your spot in the way that Ella did. Thank you for watching.
I hope you learned something today. And I’m Jazzmeia Horn.
And I’m turning the tables.

100 thoughts on “Ella Fitzgerald’s Signature Singing Style, Explained By Jazzmeia Horn

  1. Great way to start my day. What a beauty ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ

  2. We are standing on the shoulders of so many great talents…. she said all those great things about Ella but then she chose to say that this is a different time and her style is different no Ella is the reason why you have that style!

  3. This video struck me because exactly what Jazzmeia described doing with Ella scat solos, I actually sit down and do with Jazzmeia scat solos… she is the face of modern vocal improvisation and I cannot get enough of her!

  4. My mom played her when I was a kid, and she was great! I love her version
    of "Night and Day" "With the beet beet beet of the tom tom" YO GO GIRL, YOU GOT IT!

  5. Yes! Jazzmeia's version of 'Up Above My Head' was one of the songs that recently got me through my grandmother's death. Listening to her album though, I would have thought that she was more influenced by Betty Carter. Oh well, she's dope AF.

  6. Did you know NPR that Ella's promoter the only living jazz promoter Audrey P. Franklyn is still alive and active? You should have her on to talk about Ella, Norman Granz and her years of being with Ella until she passed. Please dont ignore this message . Aydrey is the only one left and has some fun and heart filled stories about this arrist.

  7. Wow just discovered this artist and it has already made my entire year! What a blessing of a woman!! Also please drop that skin care routine!!

  8. That was really good Jazmia Horn… Iโ€™m a singer, Jazz, r&b, classically trained… is so glad for your gift, and you taking the time to share… We do have to find ourselves honing OUR OWN styles. There is something very spiritual and powerful in doing so. Itโ€™s s journey within, and very revealing what we will produce uniquely our own…๐ŸŒท๐Ÿ’•โค๏ธ๐Ÿ™๐ŸพPeace Sister…

  9. She's wrong though, there were so many jazz and swing singers in the mid 1930's doing the kind of scat singing Ella was doing, perhaps not as well, but even Judy Garland was doing it.

  10. If youโ€™ve listened to ella a lot. Youโ€™ll here every part she incorporated.
    Please listen to Ellaโ€™s One Note Samba

  11. That was SOOOO good! I am an Ella lover and I really respect and admire how you have studied and created your OWN style, as influenced by our legendary musical ancester! And I totally agree with the fact that Ms. Jazzmeia Horn needs a Tiny Desk performance STAT! Much appreciated, my sisterqueen!!!

  12. WOW! Yes, I did learn something new today! Thank you, Ms Horn! You have a beautiful voice, unique "signature" sound and an amazing, true-to-form outfit that is as ethnically and artsy as you are a musician. Thank you 3xs over!!! And thank you as well, NPR(!!!!!) for having this YouTube series/channel!!!

  13. She is one of the very few living singers good at it, we are talking top five – she is a gift, and shows that jazz is not dead!

  14. This year I went to a jazz camp and got to sing with professional jazz artists. At the end we had the chance to perform. I did Ella's "it don't mean a thing" and my teacher decided to make me scat during the Instrumental. It was one of the first times I had ever done that, and I had just started jazz (i'm 13) but it went really well. My cousin filmed it and sent it to my dad. He later put it on facebook, where a singing coach, that coaches a lot of singers in italy (where I live) and also coaches singers during competitions like the x factor saw it and told my dad how she really liked my voice. This year I'm probably going to take a lesson or two from her

  15. Interesting ! nevertheless, this vocalist is way behind Ella in terms of rhythmical diversity !! She has to learn the value of silences and to begin and end her phrases with more creativity. (sorry for my poor english)

  16. Not only Ella but I definitely hear Sarah Vaughn in her phrasing and improvisational approach!

  17. youโ€™re Brilliant, thank you. ( I never understand why people Ever give ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿผ to anything like this. )

  18. Love your video, Ms. Fitzgerald was one of my mother's fav singers, and had many of her albums, EF became one of mine. You are an excellent scat singer. I heard that when Ms. Ella was signed for a performance, it was as a dancer. She changed before curtain time and opened as a singer. Wow!

  19. wow .. i thought i was the only one who has sat for hours into the night listening to ellas skats on repeat .play 5 seconds of ella skat, pause, rewind .. repeat..i would do this in tiny segments until i memorized the entire scat every syllable down to the tiniest detail in her swing style and timing . her live performance of. " it dont mean a thing if it aint got that swing. " is prob my fav of her scat performances .. what i found she does is becomes every instrument of the band with her voice and incorperates those sounds into her scats and plays with the sounds so effortlesslesy . she really had an ear for the sounds of a jazz band and well.. anyways just nice to know theyre are young artists like this young lady out there who really appreciate and take time to really listen closely to get all her little details and what makes ella the Queen of Scat and Jazz..

  20. Good Lord where did this girl come from ! some of the best scattin ive heard in modern time .. she def would make miss Ella proud .. im a fan.

  21. Oh you did your homework! I hear many people TRY to invoke Ella, but most flunk. You are awesome! Your own style shines through but it is obvious you did your homework.

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