By Beverly Grafton
Ella Fitzgerald with Duke Ellington at The Cote D´Azur - Jazz Samba (Só Danço Samba)
Watching this all over again after so many years brought tears to my eyes. Ella Fitzgerald has always been my queen, my dream and once upon a time, my goal. Sadly, my dreams of ever meeting and singing with her were dashed with her passing on the 15th of June 1996.
While I could wax lyrical about Ella and everything I love about her, I'm saving that for when I dedicate a whole week to the First Lady of Jazz. Stay tuned for that by subscribing to Affluent Society and never miss a post. For now, let's dive into the song of the day!
Só Danço Samba is one of the greatest hits from Brazil's best, Antonio Carlos Jobim and what we have here today is Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald's interpretation of a Bossa Nova into Jazz and the results are phenomenal! From the moment the drummer starts off with a clave rhythm, the nerve endings in my body begin to buzz with excitement and by the time Ella goes into her first scat solo, I find myself dancing, regardless of what it is I'm doing. What I'd like for you to notice, my dear readers, is just how the entire orchestra follows her to the ends of the earth and back again without overstepping or being overtly "busy", giving her the space to bring the song to a whole new level. That's the genius of Duke Ellington as he conducts his orchestra, all the while playing the heck out of his piano.
Just look at the audience as they are absolutely captivated by the goings on before their very eyes on stage. Every single musician (I'm including Ella because she treats her voice as an instrument) employing precision focus into their music as they battle the ridiculous heat. I've experienced this with outdoor shows and I can tell you that the struggle is real when you're giving your all and the sweat on your brow collects to the point where it overflows and it flows right into your eyes. It stings like your first heartbreak but as an entertainer you cannot break your concentration or you'll cheat the audience out of the very glamour they pay so much money for.
Anyways, I'll leave you all right here to enjoy the rest of the song and look forward to tomorrow's video!