Carnegie Hall Icon: Ella Fitzgerald

Jazz Singer

By Carnegie Hall

Digital portrait by Stanley Chow, © Carnegie Hall

Program from Dizzy Gillespie's concert with Ella Fitzgerald (1947) by Carnegie Hall ArchivesCarnegie Hall

Although she first sang here earlier that year, Ella Fitzgerald’s headline debut at Carnegie Hall was as part of a concert that included two other giants of jazz—Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker—on September 29, 1947

Ella Fitzgerald sings with Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra at Carnegie Hall (1947) by Carnegie Hall ArchivesCarnegie Hall

Between 1947 and 1991, the “First Lady of Song” went on to perform multiple times. Fitzgerald’s final concert at the Hall—and New York City—was in 1991 as part of George Wein’s JVC Jazz Festival.

This is the place that made me legitimate. Coming here [to Carnegie Hall] makes me feel like I am coming home. There’s just a feeling I get singing here that I don’t get anywhere else.
— ELLA FITZGERALD

Ella Fitzgerald on Stage at Carnegie Hall (1985) by Steve ShermanCarnegie Hall

The New York Times review of that final concert called her “a singer whose singing always promised effortless, endless possibility.” Her famous 1972 live recording from the Hall was as part of Wein’s Newport Jazz festival, which had temporarily been relocated to New York.

Ella Fitzgerald's spectacles (1973) by Carnegie Hall ArchivesCarnegie Hall

A pair of Fitzgerald’s trademark spectacles are on display in the Rose Museum at Carnegie Hall.

Learn more about Carnegie Hall Icons here.

Credits: Story

https://www.carnegiehall.org/About/History/Carnegie-Hall-Icons/Ella-Fitzgerald

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