My twin brother [of blessed memory, Donald L. Tavel (1952-1988),
Associate Professor of Music, Indiana University Graduate School
of Music, the School of Electronics and Computer Music (which
was founded upon his entry into graduate school)] designed a synthesizer
in the middle 1970's. He used to explain the computer's tracking
abilities by way of reference to "A Foggy Day" as sung
by Ella because there was no finer example to graphically display
the "reading" of this input and show that the words
were not "understood" but that the scat was, just as
when the input was a piano or violin.
In addition to having listened to her recordings for over thirty
years, I was graced with the opportunity to see her in concert
with the late great Count Basie in Lansing, Michigan in 1976.
There was a Republican fund raiser going on (at which Liz Taylor
choked on the chicken bone, remember?) and the "music hall"
that was booked for this performance was a gymnasium. Lord have
mercy, but the limitations of the spatial environment were completely
transcended by Ella and the Count's perfect projections.
I will always treasure my memories of Ella and, though it is presumptuous
to suggest that there is a best set of recordings, my favorites
are the 1957 Norman Granz production of "Porgy and Bess"
with Louis Armstrong (artwork from which I contributed to her
site) and the 1941 "Birthday (her 40th) Concert"
in Rome, Italy.
Sweet Sleep Ella, with love
R. J. Tavel, JD
June 21, 1996
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