Song of the Month: “Airmail Special” by Ella FitzgeraldMusic
My song of the month is “Airmail Special” by Ella Fitzgerald. Last week held Fitzgerald’s centennial birthday; but before I knew that I heard this song for the first time two weeks ago (and I haven’t stopped listening since). I watched Jacquelin Harris and Megan Jakel of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dance Artistic Director Robert Battle’s Ella to a live recording of “Airmail Special.” Battle originally choreographed the ballet as a solo, then reinvented it as a duet in anticipation of the legend’s centennial. I was blown away by the explosive dance, but I couldn’t get my mind around the dazzlingly mind-blowing talent displayed by The Queen of Jazz.
Fitzgerald’s lightning-fast scatting is articulate, her intonation is precise, and her tone is pure. The vocal acrobatics she delivers are so perfect; and the song is just straight up fun, from Fitzgerald’s first note to her singing four octaves in one breath at the end. I have no doubt that everyone at the Newport Jazz Festival enjoyed watching her perform. After listening to this, no one will doubt why Ella Fitzgerald was called The First Lady of Song.