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Informative Essay about Ella Fitzgerald

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Last night, October 5, 1955, The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, and other well-known musicians to the name of Dizzy Gillespie and Illinois Jacquet were taken into police custody for gambling before the end of the first desegregated show at the Music Hall, Houston. The police officers at the scene took $185 in cash and the musicians were fined a total of $50, before returning to the second concert.

The 15th Jazz at the Philharmonic concert series, run by Norman Granz, featuring Illinois Jacquet, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Buddy Rich, and others, is currently touring around American cities. This year, the performers added an extra night, in Jacquet’s hometown, to their schedule.

The musicians performed live in the Music Hall, Houston, to a desegregated audience. The first live performance to be desegregated in Houston ever.

Security was hired, in case of rioting, however, the worst events happened behind the stage.

The celebrities were raided by police officers, fully armed, while on break before the second show. Dizzy Gillespie, Illinois Jacquet, and Georginana Henry (Ella’s assistant) were gambling and playing cards. The other two prosecuted, Ella and Franz were only just present in the room when the raid took place. Each of them was fined 10-dollar bonds.

'I rushed over and asked what was going on,' Granz recounted. '[The police] said, 'You're under arrest too because you're managing the gambling.’ While the commotion was going on, Granz saw one detective heading for Ella’s bathroom. He continues, “I tried to stop the police officer, by getting in his way. He got angry and asked me why I moved, I told him straight, I said, ‘I'm just watching you to see whether you try to plant any [drugs] ' The police officer became furious and said, 'I ought to shoot you.' He put the gun in my stomach... And I said, 'Well if you're gonna shoot me, I mean, shoot me.'”

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Media was present at the police station, capturing Ms. Fitzgerald in tears, however, not all were sad as Jacquet joked with the police officers accounting his name to be Louis Armstrong. The police officers did not take the joke light-heartedly.

Sgt. W.A. Scotton accounted, “Saxophonist Jacquet had the dice in his hand as the troop of officers walked in. The troop confiscated the dice and $185 in cash. Then they agreed to wait until the first show was over before taking the performers to the police station.

Mr. Jacquet, the saxophone man, was the most nonchalant of those arrested. He told reporters his name was Louis Armstrong.”

“I have nothing to say. What is there to say? I was only having a piece of pie and a cup of coffee.” says Ella Fitzgerald to the media after the event.

The musicians were able to arrive back at the concert hall, before the second act.

“We want to enforce the law, but common sense should apply,” Chief Jack Heard told the Post this morning.

Granz is currently taking legal action and it is expected $2000 will be required to lose all charges placed.

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Informative Essay about Ella Fitzgerald. (2023, November 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
“Informative Essay about Ella Fitzgerald.” Edubirdie, 20 Nov. 2023,
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