Pure Love – The Voice of Ella Fitzgerald

´52, SWR/arte, 2017

Ella Fitzgerald’s voice is a phe­no­me­non and unri­val­led to this day. She had abso­lu­te pitch and per­fect into­na­ti­on. Ella’s voice span­ned three octa­ves, her phra­sing see­med effort­less, and the odd moments in her near­ly six­ty-year care­er when she sang off-key were few and far bet­ween. The­re is almost no style of music in which she did not excel, and her nume­rous – now legen­da­ry – record­ings of the ‘Gre­at Ame­ri­can Song­book’ with pie­ces by US com­po­sers such as Geor­ge and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Cole Por­ter or Duke Elling­ton remai­ned a bench­mark for the “right” inter­pre­ta­ti­on of tho­se songs for genera­ti­ons of sin­gers. Ira Gershwin is rumou­red to have said: “I didn’t rea­li­se how good our songs were until Ella sang them.” We unra­vel the secret of Ella Fitzgerald’s voice with state­ments from sin­gers Dian­ne Ree­ves and Dee Dee Brid­ge­wa­ter, jazz drum­mer and pro­du­cer Ter­ri Lyne Car­ring­ton, jazz vio­li­nist Regi­na Car­ter, aut­hor Tad Her­shorn and the famous jazz cri­tic Will Fried­wald, among others. They descri­be the impact her voice had and con­ti­nues to have on their lives. We want to learn more about Ella’s life and find out what made her sing the ini­mita­ble way she sang.


Dok Sta­ti­on 2019, Music Docu­men­ta­ry Film­fes­ti­val, Buka­rest, Rumania
Kong­s­berg Jazz Fes­ti­val 2018, Norway
Toron­to Black Film Fes­ti­val 2017, Cana­da, World Premiere
SWR Doku Fes­ti­val 2017, Stutt­gart, Germany
Doc´n Roll Fes­ti­val 2017, Lon­don, England
Diva´s Jazz 2017, Rome, Italy
13th Jeche­on Inter­na­tio­nal Music & Film Fes­ti­val 2017, Jeche­on, South Korea


Screenplay/Director: Kat­ja Duregger
Direc­tor of Photography: Klaus Sturm, Jaron Henrie-McCrea
Sound: Aus­tin Moore
Film Edi­t­ing and Graphics: Vol­ker Gehrke
Music und Sounddesign: Pablo Pare­des
Rese­arch: Vanes­sa Christoffers-Trinks
Head of Production: Cor­ne­lia Kellers
Com­mis­sio­ning Editor: Harald Let­fuß, SWR/arte
Pro­du­cer: Gerd Haag
Pro­duc­tion: TAG/TRAUM GmbH & Co. KG