Singer-songwriter Joanna Eden joins us on Close-Up Culture to talk about her concert celebrating jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald. Joanna will bring her enchanting and absorbing show to Saffron Hall on 1st April.
For ticket info – Joanna Eden presents Ella & Beyond: Big Band to Bebop
What are your first memories of listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s music?
My mum and dad had an Ella and Louis record and I remember listening as a kid and loving the beautiful contrast of their voices together… Louis so raspy and laid back and Ella… like a velvet blanket wrapped around me… sublime! I always describe her voice as a hug!
What connected you to Ella’s work, and how has it informed your work?
My dad was a jazz musician so I listened to swing music from babyhood! I grew up clicking my fingers and I consider Ella my teacher in all things jazz!
Can you tell us about your concert celebrating Ella and what audiences at Saffron Hall can expect from the show?
With the help of Ella’s story and songs I’m gonna take the audience on a journey through 20th century jazz -from Big Band to Bebop and beyond! The evening will travel from intimate small ensemble jazz – with incredible soloists Rico Tomasso and Tony Kofi – to Big Band swing with the Len Philips Swing Orchestra! There will be something for everyone from I Got Rhythm to Mack the Knife to Every Time We Say Goodbye to Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!
What Ella Fitzgerald song means the most to you?
I think that would have to be S’Wonderful! A Gershwin tune with a breathtaking arrangement for Big Band by Nelson Riddle which will I’ll be performing with the Len Phillips Swing Orchestra – such a thrill!
What does Ella Fitzgerald and her music mean to you?
I consider Ella my role model. Her pitching is perfect, her timing effortless and her jazz chops are off the scale! She could take on Charlie Parker with her bebop licks!
The way Ella conducted her life and career with such dignity and dedication is also something I aspire to too. She had to contend with so much prejudice which makes her achievements all the more remarkable.
I got to do my Ella show for the curator of Ella’s exhibition at the Smithsonian and jazz expert John Hasse. He gave me a standing ovation so I can die happy!
What are your plans and ambitions for the future?
I love singing Ella’s music so I’ll do that with love and joy for the rest of my life – Ella’s sound is a pinnacle to aspire to! What excites me the most though is writing and recording my own songs – I’ve just got back from a songwriting and recording trip to Uruguay and it looks like my next album (my 6th!) will be a kind of love letter to that incredible country! I’m so grateful to my ever-growing fan base and love sharing songs, info and livestream concerts on Facebook! People can find out about everything I do on my website – www.Joanna Eden.net