Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stormy Weather

Ella Fitzgerald sings in Germany, 1975.

I don't know how long it had been since I heard a live version of this song. But I did yesterday, at a small venue on Roncesvalle Avenue in Toronto. A late afternoon performance by a very talented singer by the name of James Christopher who had one of those voices like Mel Torme - best described as 'smoky velvet'.

It is one of my favourites. Written way before I was even born (I know, I know, pre-Cambrian times!). Ella was 68 when she performed this version. Ill with diabetes, nearly blind, but the voice, one of the most remarkable ever, still intact and luscious.

I never tire of her. Often on long journeys in my car I will play all of her greats. Stormy Weather seems appropriate for these times, the uncertain state of the planet -the unastable regions, the climate change, the (perhaps) Peak Oil situation and the overall economic instability.


  1. She was a real trouper!

  2. I have always liked her too and think she is the 'grande dame' of...

    This song is so blue and moody, yet not too sad that it doesn't bear listening to. She gives a good rendition of it. The other person who sang it really well is Sarah Vaughn, although Billy Holiday did a good job too.

    Those were good times when that music was magic! Although I guess it still is.

  3. One of a kind, GM.

    it still is magic, n'est pas, Irene?


  4. What a beautiful song. Great voice.

  5. Yes, wonderful. I got to see her once, about 1965, at Manchester's Free Trade Hall with a trio. She had such control that she didn't need an orchestra to cover her - like here

  6. Love it, WWW!

    I've recently become a fan of female jazz singers, and often remark to the husband that this is one area where females are actually acknowledged as supreme!

    Ella, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson, Diana Krall....the list goes on !

  7. I first saw Ms Fitzgerald as a teenager in Seattle in 1956. My friends and I were into Jazz, especially the West Coast "Cool" jazz of Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Cal Tjader and also the music of the 30's and 40's. Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic was once again on tour and we were there in a huge barn of an auditorium in Seattle when she came out and began to sing--it was love at first sound--we were thoroughly impressed by the likes of Lester Young, but Ella just blew us away. Then when the Songbooks came out on LP I bought everyone. Ella was irresistible. She still is. I had seen June Christie with Stan Kenton's band and Peggie lee and others, but if I have not reached nirvana since in my life, I was with Ms Ella that day. Thank you for her and Stormy Weather (I personally think she's better than Lady Day with that song).

    Beau in Seattle, the first day of the 2008 baseball season.

  8. B: Perfection.
    OF: Lucky you, I never did see her live. What a memory!
    Hey you, welcome back! I've seen DK a few times, a delight.
    and "Broken hearted melody" by SV ranks right up there for me.
    Beau: welcome!
    How blessed you were to see her live! I agree, I think she's better than Billie too, something about that perfct pacing, right?


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