Ari Merten

How High the Moon - Ella Fitzgerald

Released: 1940 (original), 1955 (Ella Fitzgerald version)

Album: Lullabies of Birdland

Genre: Jazz

Favourite lyric: 'Though the words may be wrong to this song, we're asking how the moon'

Birdland Lullabies - Album Cover

I would certainly consider Ella Fitzgerald to be the queen of jazz.

'How High the Moon' is an extremely well known jazz standard about (you guessed it), two people in love. The lyrics are beautifully written and perfectly captured in Ella Fitzgerald's version.

One of my favourite facts about this song is that the standard 'Ornithology' by Charlie Parker and Benny Harris is based on the same structure of chords as this tune. It became a bit of a joke to include the melody of 'Ornithology' into the solo of the original tune.

The scat solo starts out with a play on the words of the song, again capturing the whimsical essence of the track before moving onto other scatting. Finally it moves seamlessly onto the melody from 'Ornithology' which is expertly and wonderfully sang.

I performed 'Ornithology' in my high school with my jazz band and that has sealed both that and this tune into my memory forever. It is such a classic and wonderful jazz tune that always makes me feel good.

Written: 27/5/24

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