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Tribute To Ella: Jazzmeia Horn

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Monday October 23, 2017

From The San Diego County News

San Diego’s Copley Symphony Hall Will Host All-Star Line-Up of Jazz Artists in Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald
By: Danny R. Johnson

It’s All About the Meaning of Lyrics

Ms. Jazzmeia Horn, the other headliner slated to perform at the Ms. Fitzgerald tribute, has been on the jazz scene professionally for the last three years and is rapidly ascending the heights of jazz notoriety. Her critically acclaimed album “A Social Call” (Concord Records) debuted in May with great reviews.

In an interview with San Diego County News conducted earlier this year, Ms. Horn stressed how her discovery of Ms. Fitzgerald’s songbook collections opened her eyes to a completely new way of interpreting lyrics of a song.

“I noticed that Ella’s ventures into the song books pointed up a flaw that had not been noticeable when she was singing routine pop songs. Her vocal range and virtuosity and her rhythmic drive had always been the primary focus of her performances. Lyrics often seemed to her unavoidable, another form of scat syllables to be bent and twisted for rhythmic or harmonic effect without regard to their meaning. When she approached the urbane and witty lyrics of Cole Porter, Lorenz Hart and Ira Gershwin, she sometimes gave the impression she did not understand them,” explained Ms. Horn.

Ms. Horn is correct in her assessment of Ms. Fitzgerald’s early approach to the songbook projects. She learned to manage in her own ingenuous way, to bring the lyrics into proper focus, making the show tunes as typical of Ms. Ella Fitzgerald as her classic scat treatment of ”How High the Moon” or her lilting ”A-Tisket, A-Tasket.”

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