Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook

"'In the very beginning,' said Hal Schaefer, a jazz pianist, composer and arranger who was hired as [Marilyn] Monroe’s vocal coach, 'I told her to buy Ella Fitzgerald’s recording of Gershwin songs. And I ordered her to listen to it a hundred times.' 'She wasn’t really into jazz when she came to me,' Mr. Schaefer added, by phone. 'But I told her: "Look, I’m going to be your guide. This is where we have to start: listening to the best female singer there is."' The actress became a fan of Fitzgerald, and the two women became friends. In 1955 Monroe persuaded the owner of the Mocambo, a popular Hollywood nightclub, to lift its policy of not booking black performers and hire Fitzgerald. Monroe reportedly promised to attend every performance seated at a front table. Years later Fitzgerald told Ms. Magazine, 'I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt'" (John Marchese, "Channeling a Bombshell, One Jazzy Note at a Time," New York Times, 8/7/11).
View catalog record here!