With a vocal range spanning three octaves, she was noted for her purity of tone, faultless phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing. She is widely considered to have been one of the supreme interpreters of the Great American Songbook.
Over a recording career that lasted fifty-seven years, she was the winner of thirteen Grammy Awards, and was awarded the National Medal of Art by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush.
She was born Ella Jane Fitzgerald in Newport News, Virginia, the child of a common-law marriage between William and Temperance “Tempie” Fitzgerald.¹
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