Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb & the Savoy Ballroom

with Ben Young
Friday, March 12, 2021
5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

Registration is now closed.
Deadline: Tuesday, March 9.

We’ll explore three great stories from jazz history: the rise of Ella Fitzgerald, the dominance of the Chick Webb Orchestra she sang with, and The Savoy Ballroom, which was Webb’s Harlem stronghold. Before Fitzgerald had worldwide success as a concert artist delivering songbook repertoire, she was the “girl singer”—literally a teenager—with the Chick Webb Orchestra. Webb was a self-made marvel on the drums who made his band the defining presence at the great Savoy Ballroom, which was beloved as ‘The Home of Happy Feet’ to millions of inter-racial dancers who flocked there during its 30-year history. Join us for some hot sounds and great stories about jazz during the swing era of the 1930s.

Ben Young has spent 30 years doing first-person research into the history of jazz music. On New York’s WKCR-FM he hosted programs covering the gamut of jazz and modern improvised music. Since 2010, he has taught courses in jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University program. Young has produced, annotated, or researched several hundred historical jazz reissues, most prominently for Triple Point Records, which he founded in 2009. He is presently director of the Jazz History Database at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Ben Young’s forthcoming biography of pianist Cecil Taylor will be published in 2022.

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