Ella Fitzgerald At 100: Late Legend’s Birthday Marked With Grammy Exhibit
The Grammy Museum is putting rare Ella Fitzgerald memorabilia on display for what would have been the singing legend’s 100th birthday.
The museum’s “Ella at 100: Celebrating the Artistry of Ella Fitzgerald” exhibition includes the first Grammy Award that Fitzgerald won – the first awarded to an African-American woman – as well as some of her gowns, sheet music and personal telegrams.
Fitzgerald died in 1996 at 79 from complications with diabetes and left few possessions beyond personal notes, but the exhibit puts a focus on what made Fitzgerald a star – her voice.
Grammy Museum curator Nwaka Onwusa says she wants visitors to be captivated by her singing, so the exhibit includes video and audio of her early performances with jazz greats Count Basie or Duke Ellington.
The exhibit is one of several celebrations of Fitzgerald’s birthday on Tuesday. New York City declared it Ella Fitzgerald Day and the Smithsonian has also opened a special exhibit, while Starbucks stores in the United States played her music.
“Ella Fitzgerald’s is probably the single most important voice in American history,” said recording artist Miles Mosley. “If you’re going to start with any song before 1970, her version is the one you start from. That’s the ground floor. That is the most representative version of what the composer themselves wished their songs would sound like.”
This article was originally published on Billboard.