Ella Fitzgerald – Where’d she get it from?

The first questions my husband ever asked me were about my family.

Where is your family from? Why did your parents move to CT? Where were your grandparents born?

I quickly realized I didn’t know a lot about my family. I knew some of the basics, but I didn’t know the important stuff: Why?

Why did Grandpa Joe move from Puerto Rico to NY? Why did Pop decide to start a business? Why did my parents move to CT?

Since then, my husband and I have started genealogy projects for both sides of our families. The whole process has been amazing! Matt was able to make it fun by helping me realize how interesting and important the decisions we make really are. The project has had a huge impact on how I view myself and it’s even helped to shape some new decisions in my life.

The concept of a lineage is so important, especially in music. I love Ella Fitzgerald, but I never really studied out her lineage – until a professor made me!

Artistic development requires many different kinds of study, even musical genealogies! Here is what I did to create a lineage of The First Lady of Song:

  1. Listening! I checked out a ton of her music and I did it with specific intentions:
    1. Hear artistic choices Ella made
    2. Hear stages of development
    3. Develop a list of what I consider Ella’s defining musical qualities
  2. Develop a Lineage!
    1. I focused on creating a lineage that was primarily based on written documentation.
    2. I backed up the written documentation with musical evidence I heard. 
      *You could certainly create a lineage based solely on musical evidence. This would probably expand my lineage to include hundreds if not thousands of jazz vocalists, however I was mostly interested in written documentation for this project.

Here is what I found so far: (click on the image for a larger view)

All of my other findings are here:

It’s still a work in progress but I’m very excited about it! Let me know what you think.

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