St. Louis Blues – Ella Fitzgerald (originally W.C. Handy)
I have some incredible memories with this particular rendition of “St. Louis Blues.” The first person who played this for me was my dear friend, collaborator, room mate, and factotum della città, Lachlan Glen. Ella embodies the perfect balance between incredible precision and absolute carelessness. One imagines that Ella might have had ten different “ossiae” (variation options) in her head, but let her musical, animal subconscious choose for her. These characteristics make her the legend she is. This track is my favorite scat solo anyone has ever performed. Just when you think it can’t go any farther, she goes to the place you want her to go. It is an insane, yet perfect release of pure energy. This is now what I listen to before every performance in order to find the spontaneity that I always want to achieve. Don’t worry, the next time you hear me sing, I won’t trail off into 256 bars of scat solo…or will I? Steeeeeeeve?!
Another amazing scat worth checking out is this live recording of “One Note Samba.” Finding all the references to other songs is like a game of “I Spy.” Enjoy!