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Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks Part I George & Ira Gershwin Webinar

'Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks, Part I: George & Ira Gershwin' Webinar

May 17, 2022 - Jun 06, 2022

'Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks, Part I: George & Ira Gershwin' Webinar

Time Tue May 17 2022 at 07:00 pm to Mon Jun 06 2022 at 09:00 pm

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USD 10

'Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks, Part I: George & Ira Gershwin' Webinar | Online Event | 'Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks, Part I: George & Ira Gershwin' Webinar
Can't make it live? Register and get access to the full replay for one week!

New York Adventure Club |

About this Event

"I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them" -Ira Gershwin

In 1959, jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald and arranger Nelson Riddle released a five-disc, 60-song masterpiece featuring the music of songwriters George & Ira Gershwin — an album that is still considered one of the greatest musical achievements of all time. But how exactly did an Olympian jazz and pop vocalist and remarkable arranger take songs written decades earlier by a legendary pair of brothers, and re-invent them into something both wholly classic and new & contemporary? This is the story of how Ella Fitzgerald helped to define what we now think of as The Great American Songbook.

Join New York Adventure Club as we take a deep dive into the historic collaborations of jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. In Part I, we'll explore the legendary musical collaboration between Ella and songwriters George & Ira Gershwin, with a focus on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book.

Led by award-winning author Will Friedwald — one of the most respected and widely-read historians of music and popular culture — our epic virtual experience and conversation around these jazz greats will include:

  • The early years of George & Ira Gershwin, who rose from an immigrant family on the lower East Side to become the most celebrated American composers of his day
  • The rags-to-riches story of Ella Fitzgerald, who went from having a hardscrabble childhood on the brink of homelessness to becoming one of the greatest jazz artists in the world
  • The origins of Ella's collaboration with The Gershwin brothers, and why they encouraged her over many others to sing their songbook
  • An analysis of rare and priceless footage of Ella singing such classics as "S'Wonderful," "How Long Has This Been Goin' On," and "I Got Rhythm," drawn from her European concerts and vintage American variety shows
  • A look at Ella's guest stars, duet partners, orchestrators, and collaborators on this album — including all three members of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.), Duke Ellington, and Count Basie
  • A discussion around rare photos and documents from The Gershwins' collection, including the original song list prepared by Ira Gershwin (with his own hand-drawn doodles) and other materials documenting the creation of this classic album

Afterward, we'll have a Q&A with Will — any and all questions about Ella Fitzgerald or The Gershwin brothers are welcomed and encouraged!

Can't make it live? Don't worry, you'll have access to the full replay for one week!

See you there, virtually!

*Immediately upon registering, you will receive a separate, automated email containing the link to join this webinar

**For the best possible viewing experience, please ensure you're using the latest version of your internet browser — Google Chrome is the most compatible. Exact technical requirements and a webinar user guide will be shared in the automated confirmation email upon registration.

***A full replay of the experience will be available to all registered guests for up to a week

About Will

Will Friedwald is a featured arts writer for The Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair, and the award-winning author of ten books on music and popular culture, including the new Straighten Up and Fly Right: The Life and Music of Nat King Cole, as well as A Biographical Guide To The Great Jazz And Pop Singers, Sinatra: The Song Is You, Stardust Melodies, Tony Bennett: The Good Life, Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies, and Jazz Singing. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks Series

Part I: George & Ira Gershwin

Part II: Duke Ellington

Part III: Nat King Cole & Cole Porter


"Great clips with knowledgeable narrative." -Jyll

"The presentation was full of videos and also humorous." -Lynn

"The clips of Ella were amazing and made it all worth while." -Yvonne

"Great clips. I have never seen them before. The clip from the Sinatra show was especially cool to watch. Great 60s TV production. When I was a kid at Southern Illinois University, I was able to schedule a radio interview with Ella, and the recording was set right after her campus performance. She was utterly exhausted but willing to do the interview---- but I was smart enough to tell her that I respected her situation and would "give her a pass." She and her crew were relieved and they all smiled, and she actually thanked me, a 20 year old kid with a tape recorder. I loved her. It was the best interview I never did! I was thrilled by this presentation." -Harry

"Such great commentary and such great musical selections. He’s so fun to listen to also such a good natured guy." -Sharon

"Entertaining, loved the actual clips of Ella and other entertainers, lots of history was learned, excellent instructor." -Brenda

"The footage that was found for the presentation. It was a good mixture of background, talking and music. It showed the range of her singing." -Arlene

"Engaging, highly knowledgeable presenter sharing superb clips. Loved it." -Steven

"Love the Ella videos of Gershwin standards." -Sarah

"Brilliant commentary & beautiful presentation. Stunning collection of rare footage!" -Barbara

"The material presented was good...both of the Gershwins and Ella...although I think there were some better Ella clips available." -Ronald

"Will’s knowledge is expansive and the clips he finds are extraordinary." -Adrienne

"I found Will's narrative and presentation informative, educational and entertaining. Especially enjoyed the amazing film clips featuring Ella in closeups, showing her passion and warmth as well as brilliant technique." -Arabella

"It was both comprehensive and very moving. It inspired me to seek a copy of the Gershwin Album!" -Martin


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Ticket Information Ticket Price
General Admission USD 10
Full Series Pass (3 Webinars) USD 30
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Tue May 17 2022 at 07:00 pm to Mon Jun 06 2022 at 09:00 pm
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