Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas Celebrations – William Price King – Music for Christmas and New Year – Sleigh Ride


William Price King shares some of the classic Christmas music that has entertained us all at this time of year..

 

Sleigh Ride was composed by Leroy Anderson as a light orchestral piece and was inspired by a particularly hot heat wave in July of 1946. By the time Leroy had finished the work it was in fact winter of 1948. The lyrics for the song were written in 1950 by Mitchell Parish.

Leroy Anderson recorded his own version in 1950 for Decca and it continued to be popular through the early part of the 50s.There were a number of versions that benefited from the addition of sound effects such as the clopping of horses hooves and even the sound of a horse whinnying.

There have been some notable versions of the song released over the years of this Christmas song including Johnny Mathis in 1958 and The Ronettes in 1963.

According to ASCAP, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Sleigh Ride consistently ranks in the top 10 list of most performed songs during the Christmas season worldwide.

Here is a wonderful version by the incomparable Miss Ella Fitzgerald – Amazon

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Websitehttp://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venuehttp://cave-wilson.com/ 
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-music-colum

An Evening with William Price King – Christmas Music – Sleigh Ride


My thanks to William Price King for  putting together this festive series for the run up to Christmas.. If you are lucky enough to live in the South of France; William is performing at a number of venues in the next couple of weeks. Contact William via his links for details.

Sleigh Ride was composed by Leroy Anderson as a light orchestral piece and was inspired by a particularly hot heat wave in July of 1946. By the time Leroy had finished the work it was in fact winter of 1948. The lyrics for the song were written in 1950 by Mitchell Parish.

Leroy Anderson recorded his own version in 1950 for Decca and it continued to be popular through the early part of the 50s.There were a number of versions that benefited from the addition of sound effects such as the clopping of horses hooves and even the sound of a horse whinnying.

There have been some notable versions of the song released over the years of this Christmas song including Johnny Mathis in 1958 and The Ronettes in 1963.

According to ASCAP, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Sleigh Ride consistently ranks in the top 10 list of most performed songs during the Christmas season worldwide.

Here is a wonderful version by the incomparable Miss Ella Fitzgerald.

About William Price King

 williampriceking

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find all of William’s posts on Jazz, Classical and Contemporary artists in this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

Summer Jazz – William Price King meets Ella Fitzgerald – The Final Performance


William and his music

This is the final performance in the Ella Fitzgerald story and today it is time to pay tribute to this extraordinary artist by showcasing some of her live performances. William Price King picks up the story in 1986

Ella_Fitzgerald_(Gottlieb_02871)

Ella’s health had been failing for some time and in 1986 she underwent quintuple bypass surgery. She also required a new heart valve and was diagnosed with diabetes that had resulted in a deterioration of her eyesight. The rumour mill went into overdrive and pronounced that the Queen of Jazz would never sing again.

Ella however, yet again proved what a true performer that she was and returned to the stage with a punishing concert tour. Her last live concert was at Carnegie Hall in 1991 which was the 26th time she had performed at this prestigious venue. In this final tribute to this astonishing first lady of song we are going to feature some of her live performances. Here is What’s Going On (Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Marvin Gaye) at the Newport Jazz Festival 1973 at Carnegie Hall.

Ella recorded over 200 albums in her career and won fourteen Grammy Awards, achieving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1967. She also received the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Medal of Honor Award, The National Medal of Art and the Presidential Medal of Freedom presented by President George Bush. In 1990 she received an honorary doctorate of Music from Harvard University.

Here is April in Paris (Vernon Duke and E.Y. Harburg) Live at Jazz Pour Tous, Brussels, Belgium, 1957

Ella Fitzgerald was not only a musical performer but an advocate for civil rights and women and children’s causes. She never forgot her own start in life and gave generously to organisations for disadvantaged young people. This commitment to contributing to welfare was one of the reasons that Ella felt compelled to keep performing even when her health began to fail. Here is an example of that ‘Show must go on’ attitude that was her hallmark.. Performing on the Sammy Davis 1989 60th Anniversary Celebration

ELLA FITZGERALD CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation was created and funded in 1993 by Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, in order to fulfil her desires to use the fruits of her success to help people of all races, cultures and beliefs. Ella hoped to make their lives more rewarding, and she wanted to foster a love of reading, as well as a love of music. In addition, she hoped to provide assistance to the at-risk and disadvantaged members of our communities – assistance that would enable them to achieve a better quality of life. The Board of Directors of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation seeks to continue Ella Fitzgerald’s goals by making charitable grants serving four major areas of interest:

1 creating educational and other opportunities for children
2 fostering a love and knowledge of music, including assistance to students of music
3 the provision of health care, food, shelter and counseling to those in need
4 specific areas of medical care and research with an emphasis on Diabetes, vision problems and heart disease

Her contribution to the world of music was recognised in 1987 when President Ronald Reagan awarded her the National Medal of Arts and it was one of her most treasured moments.Ella had performed at the White House and here is a photograph taken in 1981 with President Reagan

Ella and Ronald after White House Performance 1981

The USA was not the only nation to recognise her work and France awarded Ella the Commander of Arts and Letters award in 1990.   Here is one of Ella’s performances,  Live at the Cannes Jazz Festival France July 8, 1958 Midnight Sun (Lional Hampton and Sonny Burke)

Apart from Carnegie Hall, Ella travelled the world and performed in Europe at the most prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall in London, several major events in Germany including at The Musikhalle in Hamburg, the Palais des Congres in Paris, Teatro Manzoni in Milan, Circo Massimo in Rome and yearly at the Montreux Jazz Festival. She delighted audiences in Canada, Belgium, Lebanon, The Netherlands, Hungary, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Serbia and Japan.  Here is one Ella live in Berlin in 1968. For Once in My Life (Ron Miller and Orlando Murden)

What a legacy this incredible woman left behind not just in the songs and music but in her contribution to society and the welfare of others.  Ella died at her home on June 15, 1996 age 79 and to end this tribute to the First Lady of Song one of the best versions of Cry Me a River (Arthur Hamilton).

Goodnight Ella.

Additional sources and photographs
http://www.ellafitzgerald.com
http://ellafitzgeraldfoundation.org/about.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald
http://www.ellafitzgerald.com/about/awards.html

The previous posts on the Ella Fitzgerald story are here.
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

williampriceking

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

 

 

Summer Jazz with William Price King – Ella Fitzgerald – Part Four – Collaborations


William and his musicLast week in the Ella Fitzgerald story we discovered the delights of the eight Songbooks that Ella recorded up to 1964. This week a brief look at her appearances on the large and small screens and also her collaborations with some of the best performers of the day. My thanks as always to William Price King for his wonderful contribution to the blog and you will find links to his other articles at the end of the post.

Ella Fitzgerald was an exceptional performer and this did cross over into both television and film roles in the 50s. Her manager Norman Granz was able to negotiate a role for Ella in the Jack Webb 1955 jazz film Pete Kelly’s Blues alongside Janet Leigh and Peggy Lee. This was her first film since 1942 and Ella was thrilled by the opportunity.. Unfortunately the critics where not so thrilled with the film but despite this The New York Times did offer some comfort to Ella and her fans. “About five minutes (out of ninety-five) suggest the picture this might have been. Take the ingenious prologue … [or] take the fleeting scenes when the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald, allotted a few spoken lines, fills the screen and sound track with her strong mobile features and voice.”

At the time leading roles for African American actresses were difficult to find, but Ella appeared from time to time in cameos for St. Louis Blues in 1958 for example and on television in the 1980s drama The White Shadow.

However, she did make many guest performances with the established musical shows of the day including with one of her favourite singers Frank Sinatra. Also Andy Williams, Pat Boone, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Mel Tormé. She was a frequent guest on The Ed Sullivan Show and here is a wonderful, but unfortunately short, performance of “Three Little Maids from School” from The Mikado, alongside Joan Sutherland and Dinah Shore.

Ella was very popular with producers when it came to television commercials and one of her longest running was for Memorex tapes. Here is a short compilation to remind us not just of her amazing voice but also those days when we all thought that cassette tapes where the last word in technology! In the original advert Ella sang and shattered a glass, when the tape was played back the recording also broke the glass, asking: “Is it live, or is it Memorex?”

The Collaborations.

There is no doubt that Ella Fitzgerald performed and often recorded with the finest musicians and singers of the day. These included Bill Kenney & The Ink Spots, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

Out of the seven songs that Ella recorded with the Ink Spots, four reached the top of the pop charts including “I’m Making Believe” for Decca Records in 1944. With hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women over in Europe this song was hugely popular and reached number one in the chart.

The three Verve Studio albums with Louis Armstrong also did very well including the last album that featured the music from the Gershwin musical Porgy and Bess. Ella also recorded with Louis on a number of records for Decca in the 50s.

Her collaboration with Count Basie pleased the critics and her 1963 album Ella and Basie! is considered to be one of the best. Here is one of the classics from the album “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” written by Harry Brooks, Andy Razaf and Fats Waller

Ella and Count Basie also collaborated on the 1972 album Jazz at Santa Monica Civic ’72, and on the 1979 albums Digital III at Montreaux, A Classy Pair and A Perfect Match.

Last week we covered the Duke Ellington Songbook but Ella and the ‘Duke’ also worked together on the 1966 album Ella and Duke at the Cote D’Azur, and in Sweden for The Stockholm Concert 1966. Their 1965 album Ella at Duke’s Palace is also extremely well received. Here is a video of one of the live performances from Stockholm. “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)”.

One of the stars that Ella would have dearly loved to collaborate with on an album was Frank Sinatra. Despite several memorable performances by them on stage and in television specials, that was never to happen. A great shame, although thankfully we do have recorded magic available on YouTube to share, including this wonderful performance of “Can’t we be friends”.

One of their most successful joint collaborations was with Count Basie in 1974 for a series of concerts at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas which was so popular and when they transferred to Broadway for two weeks in September 1975 the show grossed a million dollars in two weeks.

Join us next week for the final part of the amazing and wonderful life of Ella Fitzgerald with some more outstanding performances.

Buy Ella Fitzgerald music.
http://www.amazon.com/Ella-Fitzgerald/e/B000APP6OU

Additional sources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald
http://www.ellafitzgerald.com/
https://www.youtube.com
Marilyn Monroe Video Archives
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Granz

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

williampriceking

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

I hope that you have enjoyed and would love to receive your comments. Please feel free to reblog and share to others who love jazz and good music.

Summer Jazz, William Price King meets Ella Fitzgerald -Part Three – The Songbooks


William and his music

This week in the Ella Fitzgerald story a slight change of format as we look at the eight Songbooks that Ella recorded showcasing the best music of the 20th century.. Enjoy the concert of the most iconic songs of the era.

From 1956 to 1964 Ella Fitzgerald under the banner of the Verve record label recorded eight of her very popular ‘Songbooks’ beginning with Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, which was also her first album with the label.

These Songbooks are amongst the most well-known of her many albums and the songs ranged from the popular Jazz standards to lesser known songs from the composers and lyricists featured and also some cross over for her non-jazz fans.

The Cole Porter Songbook was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000 in an award that recognised excellence in the previous 25 years. Here is the fabulous I Get a Kick Outta of You…

The second Songbook followed quickly in 1956, Ella Fitzgerald sings the Rodgers & Hart Songbook. Accompanied by a studio orchestra conducted by Buddy Bregman.. The four-sided Songbook was filled with many popular tracks including Have You Met Miss Jones, With A Song In My Heart, and My Funny Valentine..

Here is The Lady is a Tramp…

“Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook” in 1957 was the only Songbook on which the composer she interpreted played with her. Duke Ellington and his long-time collaborator Billy Strayhorn both appeared on exactly half the set’s 38 tracks and wrote two new pieces of music for the album: Tracks include Prelude To A Kiss, Take The A Train and Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. Duke Ellington composed and performed all the music with lyricists including Irving Mills, Johnny Hodges and Harry James. Here is Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.

The next Songbook in the series was in 1958 Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook. A studio album with music arranged and conducted by Paul Weston. It featured some of Irving Berlin’s most popular work and included Let’s Face The Music And Dance, Puttin’ On The Ritz, and Cheek to Cheek.. Here is Alexander’s Ragtime Band…

The next in the series is Ella Fitzgerald sings George and Ira Gershwin Songbook arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle. Some of the wonderful tracks included Someone To Watch Over Me, Strike Up The Band, I’ve Got A Crush On You.

The sixth Songbook came along two years later in 1961 Ella Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook another studio album and this was the only time that Ella worked with Billy May. Tracks included Stormy Weather, lyrics by Ted Koehler, That Old Black Magic, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and It’s Only A Paper Moon by E.Y Harburg and Billy Rose.

Number seven in the series was Ella Sings The Jerome Kern Songbook in 1963 again with Nelson Riddle..Tracks included All The Things You Are by Oscar Hammerstein and The Way You Look Tonight by Dorothy Fields.

The last in the eight Songbooks in 1964 was Ella Fitzgerald Sings Johnny Mercer in 1964 another arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle including Too Marvelous For Words lyrics by Richard A Whiting and When A Man Loves A Woman lyrics by Bernie Hanighen and Gordon Jenkins.

The Songbook series ended up becoming the singer’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful work, and probably her most significant offering to American culture. The New York Times wrote in 1996, “These albums were among the first pop records to devote such serious attention to individual songwriters, and they were instrumental in establishing the pop album as a vehicle for serious musical exploration.”

You can enjoy the complete songbooks.
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Ella-Fitzgerald-Song-Books/dp/B0000046RN

Additional sources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complete_Ella_Fitzgerald_Song_Books
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald_Sings_the_Cole_Porter_Songbook
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald_Sings_the_Duke_Ellington_Song_Book
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald_Sings_the_Irving_Berlin_Songbook

williampricekingWilliam Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

 

 

 

 

Summer Jazz – William Price King meets Ella Fitzgerald – The 40s and 50s


William and his music

Welcome to the second part of the Ella Fitzgerald story by my friend and wonderful guest contributor William Price King. William has been an International performer, composer and musician for over 30 years and has sung all the Jazz standards made so famous by the Jazz Royalty. He is on a Summer break at the moment and so I am repeating some of the earlier series for those of you who might have missed them.

Ella Fitzgerald rightly holds the crown as Queen of Jazz and her contribution to music was mirrored by her influence not only for women’s rights but also the civil rights movement during the 50s and 60s. Last week we looked at her early life and performances and now we move into the 40s and 50s.

The story continues…

Last week we looked at Ella’s early start in life that was filled with many challenges. However, following her win in a talent contest in 1935 and her subsequent collaboration with drummer and band leader Chick Webb, her career went from strength to strength.

The New York Times later wrote that Chick was, “reluctant to sign her….because she was gawky and unkempt, a ‘diamond in the rough’.” But, he offered her the opportunity to test with his band when they played a dance at Yale University. She began singing regularly with his orchestra throughout 1935 at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom and Ella recorded several hit songs with them, including “Love and Kisses” But it was her 1938 expanded version of the 19th century nursery rhyme, “A Tiskit a Taskit,” a song she co-wrote with Al Feldman (later known as Van Alexander) that brought her wide public acclaim.

Chick Webb died in June 1939, and his band was renamed Ella and her Famous Orchestra with Ella taking on the role of nominal band leader. She recorded nearly 150 songs with the orchestra before it broke up in 1942 and Ella began her solo career. Her first signing was with the well-established Decca label and Milt Gabler became her manager. It was a time of amazing productivity within the Jazz industry and Ella recorded with some of the most popular performers of the day including Bill Kinney & the Ink Spots. They recorded ‘I’m Making Believe” and “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall”. Both of these recordings reached #1 on the US Pop Charts. Fitzgerald teamed up with The Ink Spots again in 1945 to record “I’m Beginning to See the Light” and “That’s the Way It Is”.

Milt Gabler brought Ella together with Jazz Impresario and producer Norman Granz and she performed regularly with his Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts. Norman would eventually take over as Ella’s manager and remained so to the end of her career; she remained at Decca until signing for Verve Records the label that Norman Granz created around her. In the meantime she would record many hits for Decca in the company of the great musicians and singers of the day including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie.

With the demise of the Swing era and the decline of the great touring big bands, a major change in jazz music occurred. The advent of bebop led to new developments in Fitzgerald’s vocal style, influenced by her work with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band. Dizzy was a Jazz trumpeter, bandleader and composer who together with Charlie Parker became a huge influencer in the development of bebop and modern jazz.

It was in this period that Fitzgerald started including scat singing as a major part of her performance repertoire. In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing is a difficult technique that requires singers with the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms using the voice as an instrument rather than a speaking medium.

Her 1945 scat recording of Flying Home” arranged by Vic Schoen and recorded with Dizzie Gillespie and Charlie Parker, would later be described by The New York Times as “one of the most influential vocal jazz records of the decade….Where other singers, most notably Louis Armstrong, had tried similar improvisation, no one before Miss Fitzgerald employed the technique with such dazzling inventiveness.”

Her bebop recording of “Oh, Lady Be Good” in 1947, written in 1924 by George and Ira Gershwin for the Broadway show of the same name, was similarly popular and increased her reputation as one of the leading jazz vocalists.

On the touring circuit it was well-known that Ella’s manager felt very strongly about civil rights and required equal treatment for his musicians, regardless of their color. Norman refused to accept any type of discrimination at hotels, restaurants or concert halls, even when they travelled to the Deep South. Once, while in Dallas touring for the Philharmonic, a police squad irritated by Norman’s principles barged backstage to hassle the performers. They came into Ella’s dressing room, where band members Dizzy Gillespie and Illinois Jacquet were shooting dice, and arrested everyone. “They took us down,” Ella later recalled, “and then when we got there, they had the nerve to ask for an autograph.” Norman wasn’t the only one willing to stand up for Ella. She received support from numerous celebrity fans, including a zealous Marilyn Monroe. This from the Marilyn Monroe Video Archives.

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt,” Ella later said. “It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”

Next week into the end of the 50s to the 70s as Ella becomes a worldwide phenomenon.

Sources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald
http://www.ellafitzgerald.com/
https://www.youtube.com
Marilyn Monroe Video Archives
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Granz

Buy Ella Fitzgerald music.
http://www.amazon.com/Ella-Fitzgerald/e/B000APP6OU

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

williampriceking

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect with William

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can explore all of William’s series at this link:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-jazz-and-music-series/

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have enjoyed the amazing voice of Ella Fitzgerald.. Sally

 

Summer Jazz – William Price King meets Ella Fitzgerald


William and his music

We continue with the Summer Jazz  with  the First Lady of Song Ella Fitzgerald. An incredible talent and listening to her voice makes me wish that I could have heard her singing live. This series was first posted in February 2015 so although some of you may have read it before, I hope you will enjoy listening to her performances again. For new readers, during the summer months, whilst William Price King is away, I will be repeating the early artists that we featured.

Ella_Fitzgerald_(1940)A young Fitzgerald, photographed by Carl Van Vechtan in 1940

Ella Jane Fitzgerald would become ‘The First Lady of Song‘ and was one of the most popular American Jazz singers for over 60 years. During her career she won 13 Grammy awards and sold 40 million copies of her over 70 Albums. She was also was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush.

Her greatest hits include ‘Let’s Fall In Love’, ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’, ‘Every time We Say Goodbye’ and ‘Summertime’. Her versatility and range enabled her to sing everything from soulful ballads through to the most popular jazz standards of the day. She worked with all the big names in the business including Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme. She travelled the world performing to packed houses and the audiences loved her.

Here is her wonderful performance of Summertime.…by George Gershwin and lyrics by Dubose Heyward from the 1935 hit show ‘Porky and Bess’

Her start in life was tough but Ella would later say that she appreciated how much the difficult times had matured her and how the memories helped her build the emotion into her performances. She also understood what it was like to face challenges and setbacks in life and she treasured her success all the more for them.

Her vocal range spanned three octaves (D♭3 to D♭6). Often referred to as the First Lady of Song, the Queen of Jazz and Lady Ella, she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.

Her Early Years.

Ella was born in Newport News, Virginia on April 25th 1917 to William and Temperance (Tempie) but they split up shortly after Ella was born. Tempie and Ella moved to Yonkers, New York and Tempie moved in with Joseph Da Silva father to Ella’s half-sister Frances who was born in 1923. Jo supported the family by digging ditches and was a part-time chauffeur, while Ella’s mother Tempie worked in a Laundromat and restaurants. As she grew older Ella would take on small jobs to add to the family’s upkeep. Times were tough.  It was the height of the prohibition and the numbers racket business and Ella spent some time as a runner for some of the local gamblers.

There was however time for social activities and Ella and her friends spent time singing and dancing and would head into Harlem to watch the variety acts at the Apollo Theatre.

According to Ella’s biography on her official website her mother, Tempie died from serious injuries that she received in a car accident in 1932 when Ella was just 15. Ella went to live with Tempie’s sister Virginia and she was joined shortly afterwards by Frances when Joe suffered a fatal heart attack.

This was not a happy time for the young Ella and schooling took a back seat as she began to get into trouble with the police. Eventually she was sent to reform school which was unbearable, especially as she suffered beatings at the hands of the caretakers. Still only 15 she escaped and found herself on the streets along with thousands of others displaced by the Great Depression.

It was not until 1934 when 17 year old Ella’s luck would change. Her name was pulled out of a draw at the Apollo and she won the chance to compete on Amateur Night. Her first thought was to dance for the audience but having seen the Edwards Sisters, Ruth and Louise, considered the fastest tap dancing team in the business, she decided she could not compete and would sing instead.

The crowd was rowdy and the young Ella stood scared and ‘unpolished’ before them on stage. She asked the band to play Hoagy Carmichael’s “Judy,” a song she knew well as it was one of her mother’s favourites. As she began to sing the audience quieted down and at the end of her performance demanded an encore. She obliged and sang the flip side of the Boswell Sister’s record, “The Object of My Affections.” She won the first prize of $25.

Ella was not confident away from the stage but once in the spotlights she came alive.. She was to say “Once up there, I felt the acceptance and love from my audience,” Ella said. “I knew I wanted to sing before people the rest of my life.”

The musicians in the band that night were impressed with Ella and her singing voice. One of these was saxophonist and arranger Benny Carter. He knew talent when he heard it and he began to mentor Ella and introduce her around contacts in the music business. They would maintain that friendship and working relationship their entire lives.

Here is Ella singing I’ll Chase the Blues Away with Chick Webb in 1935.

With the backing of Benny and her growing audience of fans, Ella began entering and winning every available talent show in town. In January 1935 she won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House and there she met drummer and bandleader Chick Webb. Although he already had a male singer he gave Ella the chance to test with the band at a dance at Yale University… It was a tough crowd by in her usual style Ella won their hearts and Chick hired her to travel with the band for $12.50 a week.

Ella was on her way…..next time we will look at the rest of the 30s and the 40s as she sang her way into the hearts of a nation.

Sources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald
http://www.ellafitzgerald.com/

About William Price King.

williampriceking

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect with William

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can explore all of William’s series at this link:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-jazz-and-music-series/

Thanks for dropping by and hope you have enjoyed part one of the Ella Fitzgerald Story. Sally

 

Summer Jazz with William Price King – Mel Tormé – The Finale


William and his music

Welcome to the finale of the life and music of Mel Tormé and his life and music. Not only a prolific composer but an entertainer who won the hearts of millions of music lovers around the world. I will hand over to William Price King to take us through the 80s and 90s.

 220px-Mel_Tormé_(1979)

Mel Tormé enjoyed a wonderful collaboration with George Shearing with popular albums but he also worked with other musicians during the mid to late 80s. These included an album with Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass resulting in a hit in the jazz chart of 1986. He also teamed up with his old friend Marty Paich and the Dek-Tette in 1988 and 1989 for Reunion with Marty Paich and In Concert in Tokyo. The album included one of Mel’s favourite classics by Duke Ellington – It Don’t Mean A Thing….

 It wasnt all velvet

In 1988 Mel published his autobiography It Wasn’t All Velvet – in reference to his nickname The Velvet Fog…Here is an extract from a review by Mary Whipple in 2006 for the book.

‘For those who love jazz and the entertainment business, the book is fascinating, giving insights into Harry James, Buddy Rich, Chico Marx, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mercer, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Dick Martin (of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In). Tormé’s analyses of his professional failures (such as his disaster at the Copacabana) and of his betrayals by some of his “friends” show how closely some entertainers identify with their career decisions and how agonizing the ups and downs of professional life can be.

Some of the book can be considered self-congratulatory, and other parts reflect Tormé’s desire to set the record straight (and give some payback for past wrongs), but the book gives an articulate and thoughtful presentation of the life of someone who has been considered the greatest male jazz singer of the twentieth century. A fascinating and insightful look at show business, with all its warts’

Mel continued to perform and record albums in the early 90s with albums the live Night at the Concord Pavilion in 1990, a George Shearing collaboration for the studio collection of 1940s songs Mel and George ‘Do’ World War II and a duet album in 1991 with Cleo Laine, Nothing Without You. Here is Mel and Cleo performing After You’ve Gone...

In 1992 Christmas Songs for Telarc Records gave Mel his first pop chart success, and he also recorded a live album The Great American Songbook and Sing Sing Sing. 1993 saw the release of the classic album Blue Moon and in 1994 a studio album A Tribute to Bing Crosby. Mel was now approaching 70 but he maintained his live performances with a very strict health regime to maintain his unique voice. Here is Mel with that unforgettable classic ‘Blue Moon’ written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934.

In July 1996 following the release of The Mel Torme collection 1944-1985 by Rhino Records, Mel recorded his last live album An Evening with Mel Torme for the A&E network. In the August he suffered a stroke and although he recovered he was unable to perform again. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in February 1999 and died following another stroke on 5th June 1999 ages 73.

He left behind an extraordinary legacy in his more than 250 songs, many of which are jazz standards and still performed by artists around the world. But it is his own ability to capture the hearts of his audiences with his immaculate and outstanding delivery of those songs that will be most remembered.

“Tormé works with the most beautiful voice a man is allowed to have, and he combines it with a flawless sense of ‘pitch’… As an improviser he shames all but two or three other “scat singers” and quite a few horn players as well.”   Will Friedwald, Jazz Singing

I will leave you with Mel’s performance ‘That’s All’ written by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes and a reminder of some of the highlights of his life put together by TexPaco.


Additional material and images http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Torm%C3%A9
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_at_the_Concord_Pavilion
YouTube Channel for Mel Torme – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLwWpHekuN6mOxqmqUUJfw

About William Price King.

williampricekingWilliam Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect with William

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can explore all of William’s series at this link:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-jazz-and-music-series/

Thank you for joining us today and for those of you who missed the Mel Torme series the first time around we hope you enjoyed the performances.

William Price King and Man and his Music meets Sir George Shearing


William Price King picks up the story of the powerhouse of jazz that was Sir George Shearing. Blind from birth, he never let his lack of sight deter him from achieving his ambitions in music, and as we move into the war years and the rest of the 40s it is clear that George is definitely on the way up in the music world.

Into the 40s……

Still only 20 at the outbreak of the Second World War, George began to gain a huge amount of experience by performing with some of the exiled musicians from Europe and this included the incredible Stephane Grappelli. Stephane, originally Italian but a naturalised French citizen, learned to play classical violin, but was introduced to Jazz in his early teens. Jazz violinists were rare at that time and over the next 20 years Stephane along with his various bands developed a style that the young George Shearing naturally gravitated towards.

Through the war years he also played with the Vic Lewis and Carlo Krahmer Band on several recordings for the Days Rhythm Style and HMV and Harry Parry and his Radio Rhythm Club Sextet. Eventually in 1944 he released a recording for Decca with his own sextet with that included Kenny Baker, Harry Hayes, Aubrey Frank, Tommy Bromley, and Carlo Krahmer.

Here is George Shearing performing More Than You Know in 1942 – The music was written by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Billy Rose and Edward Eliscu. The song was published in 1929

The BBC was the driving force behind the music industry and apart from the bands that toured the country and the cinema was the only national source of news and entertainment. The BBC had been combined into one channel which was the Home Service and it only offered informational programmes, news and music. This would later be expanded into the Forces service that was broadcast to the armed forces but it had a much larger entertainment content that included dramas, quiz programmes, comedies as well as a large musical component. It was accessible by the general public and it became increasingly more popular as the years of austerity took hold. The demand for music was therefore very high and for George Shearing this meant that he was never out of work.

His fan base grew and he became a star both at home with British listeners but also with the soldiers and sailors listening to the Forces radio. He won seven consecutive Melody Maker Polls which were the UK Grammys. In 1945 he was ranked 5 in the Best Soloist category, ironically ahead of Stephane Grappelli at No. 8! He did however come in behind Stephane and his Quintette at No. 7 when he was placed at No.11 with his sextet in the Small Combo category. He was however No. 1 that year for Piano.

By 1946 although still very popular in Britain, George was aware that he was becoming limited in his audience and his friend Jazz pianist, composer and journalist Leonard Feather, now established in the US invited George to join him for a visit in 1946. Whilst there for three months he recorded an album for the Savoy label, and delighted with the music scene and the opportunities that were open to him in the US he moved across permanently in 1947.

He was the first of the post-war British Jazz musicians to arrive in the US and build a successful career. George was now heavily into bebop. The birth of bebop in the 1940’s is often considered to mark the beginning of modern jazz. This style grew directly out of the small swing groups, but placed a much higher emphasis on technique and on more complex harmonies rather than on singable melodies. Alto saxophonist Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker was the father of this movement, and trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie was his primary accomplice. Dizzy also led a big band, and helped introduce Afro-Cuban music, including rhythms such as the mambo through his work with Cuban percussionists. But it was the quintet and other small group recordings featuring Dizzy and ‘Bird’ that formed the foundation of bebop and most modern jazz.

Hickory HouseGeorge’s reputation grew as he gained attention as the intermission pianist at the iconic jazz venue at the Hickory House on 52nd street and as Ella Fitzgerald’s accompanist on her pianist’s night off. Eventually he landed a regular quartet engagement with clarinetist Buddy De Franco. Just before recording an album Buddy had to drop out for contractual reasons and George’s old friend Leonard Feather suggested that it was time for George to form his own group.

One of the musicians that he collaborated with was the pianist Marian McPartland and here they are with All the Things You Are. The original song was written in 1939 for the musical Very Warm for May by Jerome Kern.

In 1949 George formed the first and most famous of his quintets which included Marjorie ‘Marjie’ Hyams in the unusual inclusion of a female in the line-up. Marjie was a jazz vibraphonist, piano and arranger. For those of you unfamiliar with a vibraphone, it is similar to a xylophone. Each bar is paired with a resonator tube with a motor-driven butterfly valve mounted on a common shaft which produces a vibrato effect while spinning. It was commonly used in jazz and also in wind instrument ensembles. Marjie had played with Woody Herman, Mary Lou Williams and Charlie Ventura and was a great addition to the sextet. The group also included Chuck Wayne on guitar, John Levy on bass, and Denzil Best on drums.

From that point on George Shearing’s success was guaranteed. With his unique quintet and later sextet ‘Shearing Sound’ he had found the formula that would bring him worldwide fans and huge record sales. His 1949 ‘September in the Rain’ for MGM sold 900,000 copies and his reputation in the US was firmly established when he was booked into Birdland the legendary jazz venue in New York.

September in the Rain written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin in 1937 from the film Melody for Two by the George Shearing Quintet.

Links
Buy his music. http://www.amazon.com/George-Shearing/e/B000APYEA2

Additional material.
http://www.georgeshearing.net/bio.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Shearing http://www.jazzquotations.com/2010/05/brief-history-of-bebop.html

Part one of the George Shearing Story.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-sir-george-shearing/

 William Price King

cover of Home by William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area. His album ‘Home’ is available to download from his website.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

William Price King in concert
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-in-concert/

Links to the stories on all Jazz Royalty.. Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald and Roberta Flack and Nina Simone

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

I hope you have enjoyed today’s musical interlude and we welcome your feedback and sharing.. thank you.