Ella Fitzgerald, 100 Years
by Elliot Thorpe
Jazz is a music form that has, arguably, untold variations. Its back catalogue of artistes and hits is as endless as a hot summer’s day and as equally as evocative.
Once such artist was born a century ago, on April 25, 1917. From humble beginnings to an astonishingly talent-drenched career, Ella Jane Fitzgerald was determined to make the best of what she had, against challenging odds.
Her father disappeared when she was a baby. Her mother, Tempie, and stepfather, Joe, did all they could for Ella and her sister, Frances, until tragedy struck. Tempie died from injuries sustained in a car accident. Joe died some time later of a heart attack. After a few run-ins with the police, young Ella was sent to a reformatory, enduring endless beatings by the staff. Escape was the only option and proved to be the founding drive in her life forever after. She entered an amateur talent show in….continue reading in the Winter 2017 magazine.
The Great Sammy Davis, Jr.
by Elliot Thorpe
Born Samuel George Davis, Jr. on December 8th, 1925 in Harlem, New York City, and from a family with a vaudeville background, it was inevitable that little Sammy would end up in show business.
When his parents split, he was just three years old, and his father took custody of him which meant the young boy followed Sammy Davis, Sr. onto the stage. Taught to dance by his father, Sammy Jr. joined him and entertainer Will Mastin, forming the Will Mastin Trio. It was a team that would see great longevity, interrupted initially by World War II and Sammy Jr.’s drafting. It resurfaced throughout Sammy’s high-profile solo career, and he made sure his father and Mastin received billing wherever he performed.
In the trio’s heyday, critics were singling Sammy out, taking note of his outstanding singing, dancing, and vocal impressions. He was signed in 1955 with Decca Records for his first vinyl LP “Starring Sammy Jr…read more in the Fall issue of SEARCH Magazine.
In the Summer Issue of SEARCH Magazine,
Music Snapshot in Time: San Francisco, 1959
by Elliot Thorpe
“Standing on the Embarcadero, the breeze coursing down from San Pablo Bay is warm, tugging at your hair, caressing your cheeks and the backs of your hands. You’ve finished work and exhausted. Ready to hit the sack, but it’s a Friday evening. There’s too much going on in town to miss it all by staying home, but where to go?
Back in your apartment, you stand under the hot shower, the force of water washing away the grime of the day. From beyond the open shutters of the wide and tall casement window, you hear the gentle strains of a sax. A muted trumpet joins its wind cousin in a smooth-blown medley of vibes.
It’s summer, 1959, and you live alone on Broadway, in a tiny but cosy room above a haberdashery. The landlady, whose husband owns the shop, is not to be messed with. She insists the rent is paid in full, in cash, and in advance, and you always comply. It’s better that way, and she leaves you alone…” to read the full article, check out the free eCopy here.
Celebrating Sinatra’s Centenary
By Elliot Thorpe
“May you live to be 100, and may the last voice you hear be mine.” With this statement intended to be tongue in cheek, there was something prophetic in its delivery. Perhaps the man who said it, one Francis Albert Sinatra, couldn’t even imagine it would ever be possible.
Incredibly, 2015 sees Sinatra’s centenary, his 100th birthday.
He was a man of many parts and one steeped in rumours from his political interactions, his Mafia connections, his family, and his alleged promiscuity. It was once said of him that he was who every man wanted to be and who every woman wanted to be with. Yet who was Frank Sinatra really? Some may attest to knowing, but the one we see is the one up there on stage, singing, dropping a few one liners and generally being the straight man to the Rat Pack.” to read the full article, download the free eCopy of SEARCH Magazine‘s Fall Issue.