Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington perform classic duet on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’

Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington

This classic performance featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington from ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ is captivating from start to finish. Accompanied by a big band led by Duke, Ella shows why she is the quintessential jazz vocalist of our lifetime.

Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington

With high energy, the pair perform, ‘It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing).’ Ella hits the first verse with her booming tone. Then, it’s Duke’s turn as he takes a fast-paced piano solo. He skillfully borrows from the melody of another jazz standard, ‘Satin Doll,’ while improvising the rest of his solo.

The big band builds in intensity throughout the clip. They back off just enough to allow Ella to steal the spotlight again with a scat solo that amazes the audience.

Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington

From 1948 to 1971, The Ed Sullivan Show featured many outstanding performances by music’s greats through the years. From Elvis to the Beatles, anybody who was a star made their mark on America’s favorite show.

The whole country tuned into the broadcast every Sunday night to see musicians, singers, comedians, and supergroups like The Jackson 5. It was the show that spawned pop culture in America.

Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington once said, ‘Music is how I live, why I live, and how I will be remembered.’ This video clip shows just how memorable the Duke really is, especially when he teams up with legendary Ella Fitzgerald.

In the end, Ella finishes with one final scat run over the big band’s final chord. Duke stands up to cut off the band’s last note and quickly turns to embrace Ella and give her a kiss on the cheek.

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