Saturday, July 14, 2012

Maria Cole (1922–2012)

Maria Cole, widow of Nat King Cole, has died at the age of eighty-nine. In the 1940s, as Marie Ellington, she sang with the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Of course, I was very lucky to have three such singers as Kay Davis, Joya Sherrill, and Marie Ellington all at one time, but there is a sad corollary to be detailed: all three were pretty, all three married, and all three left me.

Duke Ellington, Music Is My Mistress (New York: Doubleday, 1973).
Here is a recording of “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” with all three singers. Sherrill died in 2010; Davis, earlier this year. The singer Herb Jeffries may now be the last link to the 1940s Ellington orchestra.

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