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A Few First Ladies of Jazz and Rhythm 'n Blues
July 30, 2013 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Nellie Lutcher - Blue Skies, It Had to Be You & Let's Fall In Love
Martha Davis & Spouse - That's Life
Dinah Washington with Louis Jordan - What A Difference A Day Made & Makin' Whoopee
Ella Fitzgerald -- It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing
Count Basie & Helen Humes - I Cried for You
Sarah Vaughn -- The Nearness of You
Billie Holiday -- Fine and Mellow
posted by y2karl (13 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

y2karl... you've done a nice job of curating some fine playlists recently... Thanks..

For you kids...some perspective... Back in the 50's, unless you were Amos or Andy or Rochester, or had a role as a maid or butler, you didn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of being on TV if you were African American. Unless, of course, you were a musician. These clips, in addition to being iconic music, are groundbreaking in that they brought, to some extent, African American culture into white living rooms. Thinking back on it, I sincerely believe it was a good thing.
posted by HuronBob at 9:01 PM on July 30, 2013

Nellie Lutcher! She's one of my most favorites -- "Fine Brown Frame", "Hurry on Down"

(and of course, so are the others, but they get way more love than Nellie)
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:02 PM on July 30, 2013

Nellie Lutcher. Very cool. As are the others...but I been knowin' them.
posted by kozad at 9:03 PM on July 30, 2013

Regarding Fine and Mellow:
The song she sang that, to most people (including me), was the climax of the show was one of the few songs that she herself ever wrote: "Fine and Mellow." It's a basic 12-bar blues. It may be the only blues song she ever wrote, although the language of the blues, the texture of the blues, the cry of the blues was always part of what she did...

What made this the climax of the show was this: She and Lester Young — she had given him his nickname, Prez, and he was the guy who called her Lady Day, which other people came to call her. They had been very close for a long time, but then they stopped being close. They paid very little attention to each other while we were rehearsing the show.

Lester was not feeling well. He was supposed to be in the big-band sequence, but he couldn't make it. I told him, "Look, in the Billie section," which was a small group. She was sitting on a stool surrounded by just a few musicians. I said, "You know, you don't have to just sit down and play."

When it came to his solo, in the middle of "Fine and Mellow," Lester stood up and he blew the purest blues I have ever heard.

Watching Billie and Lester interact, she was watching him with her eyes with a slight smile, and it looked as if she and Lester were remembering other times, better times. And this is true — it sounds corny — in the control room, Herridge, the producer, had tears in his eyes. So did the engineer. So did I. It was just extraordinarily moving...

After it was all over, she was so pleased with how it went — it was live, by the way — she came over and kissed me. And that's worth more to me than the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Nat Hentoff

That solo starts at 1:28 in the video
posted by y2karl at 9:34 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

A few more:
Lena Horne - Stormy Weather (1943)
Carmen McRae - STARDUST
Nancy Wilson: The Very Thought Of You - 1964
posted by jim in austin at 9:41 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wow, happy to see the love for Nellie Lutcher, aka the Princess of Hep. Her voice is so great, with weird pronunciation and scatting to match her piano solos, like on "The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else." If anyone still buys CDs, this one collecting the best of her classic 1947 sessions is a joyful batch of smart small group vocal jazz, with Lutcher's piano playing a key element of the fun.
posted by mediareport at 10:06 PM on July 30, 2013

Also worth a mention, Ernestine Anderson - Send Me Someone to Love. Not on YT, but listen to her version of A'int Nobody's Business

YT is also letting me down on Barbara Morrison's Everyday I Have the Blues.
posted by turbodog at 10:07 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

So so so nice! Thanks.

While she was never much of a star, the recent passing of Johnny Smith brought this back to mind.

Please enjoy Jeri Southern (with Johnny Smith) singing

"These Are The Things I Love."
posted by timsteil at 10:31 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

In case anyone is wondering, if you, at nearly 2 am, need to pull out a harmonica to play along, I'm finding that the Hohner 24 hole Echo is working very well with this play list.

Thanks for the links, folks... good stuff.
posted by HuronBob at 10:56 PM on July 30, 2013

Ella -- Lullaby of Birdland
posted by CrunchyFrog at 11:12 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Morgana King!
posted by cherryflute at 7:42 AM on July 31, 2013

Sarah Vaughan -- Misty which, well, as a love song, gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:18 AM on July 31, 2013

Mary Lou Williams - Solo Piano
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:12 AM on July 31, 2013

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