Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The oldest Ellingtonian?

Eve Duke, aka Eve Smith, aka Yvonne Lanauze, is still making music at the age of ninety-one, in a residential care facility in Vancouver. As Yvonne — just Yvonne — she sang on three 1950 Duke Ellington recordings, “Love You Madly,” “Mood Indigo,” and “Sophisticated Lady.” Here’s a 1945 photograph of Lanauze and Ellington. And some later photographs from Lanauze’s career with Three B’s and a Honey.

Yvonne is not the only mononymous singer to perform with the Ellington band. In the early 1970s, Ellington presented the singer Aura Rully, known as Aura:

Ellington closed the afternoon by bringing out a remarkable and beautiful Rumanian soprano named Aura, who hummed and scatted “Mood Indigo,” pushing her voice up almost beyond hearing and never missing a note or losing pitch.

Whitney Balliett, New York Notes: A Journal of Jazz in the Seventies (1977), from an entry for July 8, 1972.
Related reading
All OCA Ellington posts (Pinboard)

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