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Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald are usually recognized as the two best swing vocalists ever. Sinatra’s strength was the almost superhuman level of subtle interpretation that he brought to any set of lyrics. On the other hand, the rap on Fitzgerald was that she focused almost exclusively on melody and rhythm, as opposed to lyric shading. But while Sinatra treated singing like acting, Fitzgerald treated singing like her voice was an entire orchestra. With perfect pitch, dead-on rhythmic instincts, and the most natural swinging cadence of any singer in popular music, Fitzgerald’s singing, scatting, and improvisation were pure jazz. It’s no surprise that Louis Armstrong, who took a similar vocal approach, loved recording with her.


Teaming up with R&B organist Bill Doggett on the appropriately titled Rhythm Is My Business (1962), Ella Fitzgerald recorded one of her swingingest albums ever. From the opening strains of “Rough Ridin’” to the final notes of “If I Could Be With You,” it is a non-stop, up-tempo swing fest sure to delight the hard-core jazz aficionado, as well as the 1990s retro hipsters.

Sarah Zupko founded PopMatters, one of the largest independent cultural criticism magazines on the web, back in the Internet's early days of 1999. Zupko is a former Executive Producer for Tribune Media Services, the media syndication arm of the Tribune Company, and a 10-year veteran of Tribune. Her other pursuits involve writing historical fiction and research in the fields of Slavic and German history, as well as general European cultural and intellectual history. Zupko studied musicology, film, and drama at the University of Chicago and media theory at the University of Texas, where she received her M.A.


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