Alisa Clancy spins tales of Ella Fitzgerald

by Linda Hubbard on February 2, 2011

KCSM Jazz 91.1 Operations Director Alisa Clancy makes a return visit to Menlo Park, part of the Menlo Park Library’s Black History Month Program, on Saturday, Feb. 5. This year she’ll be talking about Ella Fitzgerald, the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. We asked Alisa her thoughts on Ella’s lasting magic:

“Her fabulously accurate ear – rarely a wrong note! – long before music software could ‘fix’ mistakes. Also, her wonderfully flexible voice. She was, after all, one of the best scatters ever.”

“The fact that every musician she ever worked with loved her madly and she always deferred to them.  It was probably all of this and more. Ella Fitzgerald was a true musician in every sense of the word.”

In her lifetime, Ella Fitzgerald won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums. Her voice was wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra.

“Even if you’re familiar with Ella you might be surprised at how very shy she was and how profoundly nervous she would become before every performance, even after decades of concerts,” said Alisa. “But when the lights would go down and the musicians were in place, she found her home!”

Alisa, who teaches jazz history, theater and film as well as co-hosting KCSM’s weekday program “A Morning Cup of Jazz,” will spin more tales about Ella during Saturday’s program which begins at 11:00 am at the library. The presentation is free and sponsored by the Friends of the Menlo Park Library.

Free van service to the program is available for Menlo Park seniors and people with disabilities.  For more information or to schedule transportation, call 330-2512 or contact Roberta Roth, Outreach Librarian,

Photo by Chris Gulker


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