Patti Austin’s Tribute to Jazz Legend Ella Fitzgerald

NPC Chef (l.); Lisa Mattews, NPC Event Coordinator (r.) at National Press Club’s Fourth Estate. Photo credit: CeCe Cole/Silke Endress

Patti Austin was a buzz at the historic National Press Club’s Fourth Estate Restaurant on Thursday, April 27th; the Grammy winner, songwriter and vocalist, graced the place with her presence paying homage to Ella Fitzgerald in celebration of Ella’s 100th Birthday.

The beloved Ella was born one hundred years ago, in Newport News, VA to Temperance and William Fitzgerald, she grew up to be this phenomenon, an amazing artist, a chief architect of jazz, and one of the world’s finest female vocalist of the 20th century; widely known for songs such as “Dream a Little Dream of Me“, “Cheek to Cheek“, “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall“, and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)“.

Patti performed songs from “For Ella” to an eclectic audience from young jazz lovers to seasoned jazz enthusiast.  The New York native continues to use her music to create different platforms and entry points to jazz.  Her call to action was to introduce young people to jazz by playing it in the homes to obtain the foundation of musicality.

Patti shared charming stories of her background, childhood and growing up poor reflecting on the musical legends in her life starting with her father Gordon who was a trombonist and her godparents Quincy Jones and Dinah Washington a lady with a tough exterior, iron pants and an undisclosed gentle heart. “We are a nation of improvisers, we know how to jump on and off a band wagon, that’s what’s jazz is all about,” said Patti “This to me is the quintessential of American Music.” Currently on tour, Patti’s subsequent performance at George Washington University Lisner Auditorium left the Metro DC area celebrating the art of jazz’ and reminiscing about jazz’ cultural ambassador, Ella Fitzgerald. Happy Birthday!