Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sepia Saturday 352: Ella in a Hat

The Sepia Saturday prompt this week is Ella Fitzgerald, wearing a remarkable hat and singing at the Downbeat club in NYC. The year was 1947 and ladies wore hats and gloves in public. At first, I thought it was a feather hat and I was going to use photos I've taken of the neighborhood peacocks who drop in every once in a while to visit our cats. But on closer examination, I concluded that hat was something other than feathers! 
Photo by William Gottlieb. Ella Fitzgerald with Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, Timmie Rosenkranz

Peacock and cat, mildly interested in each other

Photo by Herman Leonard,
I found another photo of Ella taken in 1949, without a hat and I like it better. She looks more like a jazz singer and less like part of a church choir. 
Photo by William Gottlieb
The best photo I found of the Downbeat Club was this one above, taken in 1946 outside on the street. I like the view of the sign backward, the man with the bass and the couple in the foreground. It reeks of 1940's cool, the decade I was born in. I do wish I'd been in my twenties for that period. I love the clothes, the films, the music and the energy of those days. Although if I'd gotten to experience that, I would have missed all the madness of our current days. We have a 90-year-old in our writer's group who asserts that 1926 was the best possible year to be born in. He's gradually convincing us he's right. 

I did find a photo I took at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam last year. The resting double cellos (I think) sort of match the outdoor shots at the Downbeat. Admittedly the photo bears little connection to Ella in a Hat. Mea culpa. 

And here's Ella without a hat but with a wonderful guitar.......

Grab a hat and hurry over to Sepia Saturday for more takes on this musical theme.


  1. Ella Fitzgerald and jazz just go together and could that gal scat-sing! As my daughter would say: "WOWSA!"

  2. All my relatives who were born in the 1920s are dead now so I'll take being born in the 1940s. Would not have wanted to miss being young in the 1960s.

  3. Yes that hat was quite something! I’m amazed that you actually have peacocks visiting; no wonder the cat looks mesmerised.

  4. Ah ha, I also thought of feathers, but missed the meme entirely. So glad you followed it, and shared 40's photos. Me too, born in the 40s meant youth in the 60s, though I married and had children before the end of that decade, I think I kind of continued to be young in the 70s too! The 20s did sound fun with the "roaring" aspect, but imagine 13 years with alcohol illegal in all of the US!

  5. Ella seems to have touched us all...

  6. Ella was such an Ace singer!

  7. Lovely sidelines on a famous singer.

  8. It Ella's hat is not made of feathers, then what is the material? Peacocks have quite voice too!

  9. I often have wished I'd been born earlier, but like Kristen said I wouldn't want to have missed he 60s. But the stylishness and the music in the 30s and 40s is damn fine music.