The news comes this morning from Chris Albertson’s Stomp Off in C that the singer Joya Sherrill has died. She sang with Duke Ellington in the 1940s (and again in 1957 and 1963), starting in July 1942, with her mother as chaperone:
“I opened in Chicago at the College Inn in the Hotel Sherman, July of 1942. Ivie Anderson, I shall never forget, was still with the band. You called me to sing ‘Mood Indigo’ (it was Ivie’s song), and she pulled me back before I walked out to sing, and said, ‘Sing it good, or I’ll come behind you and sing it too!’ I was terrified, but determined to do a good job.”Here, from 1943, is a sample of Sherrill’s work with Ellington: “The Blues,” from Black, Brown and Beige.
Quoted in Duke Ellington’s Music Is My Mistress (New York: Doubleday, 1973).
Joya Sherrill later hosted two children’s television shows on WPIX in New York. Here, from 1970, are the surviving audio clips of Duke Ellington’s appearance on Time for Joya. Listen as Sherrill sings “Heritage” and Ellington answers children’s questions and mistells the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Sherrill and the kids then correct him. It’s eight o’clock in the morning, it’s charming and hilarious, and thank goodness that it lives on.
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