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Stars Raise Their Voices In A Musical Birthday To America's "First Lady of Song" on Great Performances

"Patti Austin, Natalie Cole, Quincy Jones, Nancy Wilson, Stevie Wonder, And Others Headline Happy Birthday: We Love Ella! (w.t.), A Tribute To The First Lady Of Song, A Thirteen/WNET New York Production, Airing Nationwide June 6 On PBS
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For more than half a century, Ella Fitzgerald packed houses around the world with her peerless delivery of ballads, pop standards and straight-ahead jazz. With her incomparable voice and astonishing technique, the beloved “First Lady of Song” consistently ranked among the top female jazz artists in the United States, garnering 13 Grammy Awards and selling over 40 million albums.

It would be impossible to overestimate the influence that Ella Fitzgerald had on future generations of musicians and singers. Many of them – including Patti Austin, Natalie Cole, Quincy Jones, Ruben Studdard, Nancy Wilson, Stevie Wonder, and Wynonna to name a few – commemorate Ella’s 90th birthday with We Love Ella! (w.t.)A Tribute to the First Lady of Song, a GREAT PERFORMANCES special from Thirteen/WNET New York premiering on Wednesday, June 6 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings).

Natalie Cole and Quincy Jones co-host this once-in-a-lifetime event, which also features performances by George Duke, Jon Faddis, Dave Koz, Ledisi, Monica Mancini, James Moody, Take 6, The USC Thornton Symphony and Jazz Orchestra, and Lizz Wright. The program, directed by David Horn, also includes interviews, anecdotes, a slideshow, and never-before-released vocal tracks by Ella. The concert was co-produced by Phil Ramone, Gregg Field, and Mitch Owgang and taped on April 29, 2007 at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center.

The GREAT PERFORMANCES broadcast is part of a widespread celebration of Ella’s 90th birthday that also includes the June 5 release of Verve’s “We All Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song,” a star-studded tribute produced by Phil Ramone featuring many of the artists appearing at the Happy BirthdayUSC concert on April 29; and the July 31 co-release by Starbucks Entertainment and Concord Records of “Love Letters from Ella,” a never-before-heard collection of songs featuring Ella and some of her favorite collaborators – including Count Basie, Joe Pass and André Previn – produced by Gregg Field.

This GREAT PERFORMANCES presentation is co-produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, Verve, Concord Music Group, and the University of Southern California Athletic Department. Bill O’Donnell is director of program development of GREAT PERFORMANCES. David Horn is executive producer of the broadcast and the series.

GREAT PERFORMANCES is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, public television viewers, and PBS. Major corporate funding is provided by UBS, a global leader in wealth management, investment banking and asset management. You & Us. UBS.

Visit GREAT PERFORMANCES online at www.thirteen.org and www.pbs.org for additional information about this and other GREAT PERFORMANCES programs. The colorful Web companion contains a wide variety of images, in-depth information about the programs, and activities for teachers, including lesson plans, tips and resources.

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Thirteen/WNET New York is one of the key program providers for public television, bringing such acclaimed series as GREAT PERFORMANCES, Nature, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Wide Angle, Secrets of the Dead, NOW With David Brancaccio, and Cyberchase – as well as the work of Bill Moyers – to audiences nationwide. As the flagship public broadcaster in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area, Thirteen reaches millions of viewers each week, airing the best of American public television along with its own local productions such as The Ethnic Heritage Specials, The Thirteen Walking Tours, New York Voices, and Reel New York. Thirteen extends the impact of its television productions through educational and community outreach projects – including the Celebration of Teaching and Learning – as well as Web sites and other digital media platforms. More information can be found at: www.thirteen.org .

 

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