Posts tagged "music"
The Divine One herself, Sarah Vaughan was born 90 years ago today in Newark, New Jersey. In this 1960 photo (Getty) she is on tour in London.

The Divine One herself, Sarah Vaughan was born 90 years ago today in Newark, New Jersey. In this 1960 photo (Getty) she is on tour in London.

Joyce Bryant is one of the reasons I couldn’t wait to get Vintage Black Glamour in book form. This photograph was taken by Carl Van Vechten on May 28, 1953 at the height of her career. Even with her undeniable soprano (with a 4 octave range) the focus was on her sexy image. Once dubbed the “black Marilyn Monroe,” constant mentions in Walter Winchell’s gossip column made her a star and she was widely considered the first dark-skinned Black woman to be considered a sex symbol inside and outside of the black community. Joyce earned nearly $1 million at her peak, but her upbringing in a very strict Seventh Day Adventist home left her feeling guilty about sex and her sexy image. According to Dorothy Dandridge’s biographer Donald Bogle, Dorothy pulled Joyce aside after a date in still-segregated Miami Beach and asked for advice on negotiating her nightclub fees (“What do you do? How do you get ask?) She was also very impressed with her stage presence (“How do you walk up on that stage and stay as calm as you are? It seems so easy for you.”) After a series of trying events, Joyce Bryant left show business at the top of her career and returned home and to the church. She worked with the church for 20 years, singing, ministering to the poor, enduring sexism and lies from people who were less than forgiving about her past. Finally, disappointed with the people in her church, she left and eventually made her way back to the stage. After doing opera in Europe, South America and the New York Opera Company, she had a successful cabaret run in the late 1970s and 1980s. As far as I can tell, Ms. Bryant is still with us (see the link in the comments). If you would like to pre-order my book, go to this link - and thank you! http://vintageblackglamourbook.com/

Joyce Bryant is one of the reasons I couldn’t wait to get Vintage Black Glamour in book form. This photograph was taken by Carl Van Vechten on May 28, 1953 at the height of her career. Even with her undeniable soprano (with a 4 octave range) the focus was on her sexy image. Once dubbed the “black Marilyn Monroe,” constant mentions in Walter Winchell’s gossip column made her a star and she was widely considered the first dark-skinned Black woman to be considered a sex symbol inside and outside of the black community. Joyce earned nearly $1 million at her peak, but her upbringing in a very strict Seventh Day Adventist home left her feeling guilty about sex and her sexy image. According to Dorothy Dandridge’s biographer Donald Bogle, Dorothy pulled Joyce aside after a date in still-segregated Miami Beach and asked for advice on negotiating her nightclub fees (“What do you do? How do you get ask?) She was also very impressed with her stage presence (“How do you walk up on that stage and stay as calm as you are? It seems so easy for you.”) After a series of trying events, Joyce Bryant left show business at the top of her career and returned home and to the church. She worked with the church for 20 years, singing, ministering to the poor, enduring sexism and lies from people who were less than forgiving about her past. Finally, disappointed with the people in her church, she left and eventually made her way back to the stage. After doing opera in Europe, South America and the New York Opera Company, she had a successful cabaret run in the late 1970s and 1980s. As far as I can tell, Ms. Bryant is still with us (see the link in the comments). If you would like to pre-order my book, go to this link - and thank you! http://vintageblackglamourbook.com/

Duke Ellington and President Harry Truman comparing musical notes at the White House on September 29, 1950. During another visit to Truman’s White House, the president, “wanting to converse as one piano player to another,” dismissed his guards and, as Mr. Ellington described it, he and the president acted like “a couple of cats in a billiard parlor.” Photo: Bettman/Corbis. PRE-ORDER for my new coffee table book Vintage Black Glamour is now available! http://vintageblackglamourbook.com/

Duke Ellington and President Harry Truman comparing musical notes at the White House on September 29, 1950. During another visit to Truman’s White House, the president, “wanting to converse as one piano player to another,” dismissed his guards and, as Mr. Ellington described it, he and the president acted like “a couple of cats in a billiard parlor.” Photo: Bettman/Corbis. PRE-ORDER for my new coffee table book Vintage Black Glamour is now available! http://vintageblackglamourbook.com/

Two icons: Billie Holiday and William Faulkner, photographed in 1956 by Moneta Sleet Jr. According to Donald Clarke’s 2009 biography on Ms. Holiday, she was initially wary about meeting Mr. Faulkner because he was a Southerner. She called her friend, the singer Thelma Carpenter (best known in later years as “Miss One” from “The Wiz” and asked about him. Ms. Carpenter said that the meeting was likely set up by Bill Dufty, her ghostwriter for “Lady Sings the Blues” and that the singer and the writer “got along beautifully… he understood her perfectly.” Photo: Moneta Sleet Jr./Ebony/Art.com.

Two icons: Billie Holiday and William Faulkner, photographed in 1956 by Moneta Sleet Jr. According to Donald Clarke’s 2009 biography on Ms. Holiday, she was initially wary about meeting Mr. Faulkner because he was a Southerner. She called her friend, the singer Thelma Carpenter (best known in later years as “Miss One” from “The Wiz” and asked about him. Ms. Carpenter said that the meeting was likely set up by Bill Dufty, her ghostwriter for “Lady Sings the Blues” and that the singer and the writer “got along beautifully… he understood her perfectly.” Photo: Moneta Sleet Jr./Ebony/Art.com.

Stevie Wonder and his first wife, the brilliant singer and songwriter Syreeta Wright (1946-2004) as they celebrate their wedding day on September 12, 1970. Ms. Wright co-wrote “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” and “If You Really Loved Me” with Mr. Wonder and recorded “With You, I’m Born Again” with Billy Preston in 1979. The newlyweds are seen as they leave Bernette Baptist Church in Detroit en route to their reception. They honeymooned in Bermuda. Photo: Bettman/Corbis.

Olivette Miller, celebrated “swing” harpist, circa 1940s. Ms. Miller was born on February 2, 1914 in Illinois to Bessie Oliver Miller, a 1900’s chorus girl and the venerable actor, comedian, writer and producer Flournoy Miller, who co-wrote and produced the groundbreaking Broadway musical “Shuffle Along.” Raised on Harlem’s famous Striver’s Row, Ms. Miller graduated from East Greenwich Academy, a private Methodist boarding school in Rhode Island in 1931, and went on to study music in Paris and at Juilliard. She originally planned to play concert halls but after being “bitten by the night club bug” she turned to more popular music. Ms. Miller’s stunning beauty and colorful love-life kept her in the newspapers almost as much as her performances around the country and the world. She performed with both Lena Horne and a young not-yet-a-superstar Dorothy Dandridge in the 1940s, top notch night clubs in Hollywood, Chicago and New York, and made a few appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the 1960s. I’m still trying to pin it down, but by my count, she was married at least six times. The Chicago Defender reported her impending divorce from her first husband, Channing Price in November 1934 and in October 1939, the New York Amsterdam News reported that Ms. Miller, who had married a musician named Oett Mallard two years earlier, gave birth to their son, Alvin Miller Mallard, on October 1, 1939 in Denver, Colorado. She was married to the dancer Freddie Gordon in the 1940s and in the 1950s to the comedian Bert Gibson and performed and toured with him across the country. In the 1970s, when she sued Flip Wilson for copyright infringement over a sketch he did on his show that Ms. Miller claimed was lifted from her father’s work in “Shuffle Along,” her name ws Olivette Miller Darby. By the early 1990s, she had a bit part as a maid in the film “A Rage in Harlem” and was billed as Olivette Miller Briggs, due to her marriage to the dancer Bunny Briggs. Ms. Miller died on April 27, 2003 at the age of 89. Photo:Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

Olivette Miller, celebrated “swing” harpist, circa 1940s. Ms. Miller was born on February 2, 1914 in Illinois to Bessie Oliver Miller, a 1900’s chorus girl and the venerable actor, comedian, writer and producer Flournoy Miller, who co-wrote and produced the groundbreaking Broadway musical “Shuffle Along.” Raised on Harlem’s famous Striver’s Row, Ms. Miller graduated from East Greenwich Academy, a private Methodist boarding school in Rhode Island in 1931, and went on to study music in Paris and at Juilliard. She originally planned to play concert halls but after being “bitten by the night club bug” she turned to more popular music. Ms. Miller’s stunning beauty and colorful love-life kept her in the newspapers almost as much as her performances around the country and the world. She performed with both Lena Horne and a young not-yet-a-superstar Dorothy Dandridge in the 1940s, top notch night clubs in Hollywood, Chicago and New York, and made a few appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the 1960s. I’m still trying to pin it down, but by my count, she was married at least six times. The Chicago Defender reported her impending divorce from her first husband, Channing Price in November 1934 and in October 1939, the New York Amsterdam News reported that Ms. Miller, who had married a musician named Oett Mallard two years earlier, gave birth to their son, Alvin Miller Mallard, on October 1, 1939 in Denver, Colorado. She was married to the dancer Freddie Gordon in the 1940s and in the 1950s to the comedian Bert Gibson and performed and toured with him across the country. In the 1970s, when she sued Flip Wilson for copyright infringement over a sketch he did on his show that Ms. Miller claimed was lifted from her father’s work in “Shuffle Along,” her name ws Olivette Miller Darby. By the early 1990s, she had a bit part as a maid in the film “A Rage in Harlem” and was billed as Olivette Miller Briggs, due to her marriage to the dancer Bunny Briggs. Ms. Miller died on April 27, 2003 at the age of 89. Photo:Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

A 26-year-old Phyllis Hyman in her New York City apartment on March 3, 1976 just as her star was beginning to rise. Just months before, she was an unknown singer whose first nightclub appearances on Manhattan’s upper west side attracted large, loyal followings fast. These photos were taken by Suzanne Vlamis for the AP.

A 26-year-old Phyllis Hyman in her New York City apartment on March 3, 1976 just as her star was beginning to rise. Just months before, she was an unknown singer whose first nightclub appearances on Manhattan’s upper west side attracted large, loyal followings fast. These photos were taken by Suzanne Vlamis for the AP.