Profile: Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

  Born in 1917, Ella Fitzgerald turned to singing after a troubled childhood and debuted at the Apollo Theater in 1934. Discovered in an amateur contest, she went on to become the top female jazz singer for decades. In 1958, Fitzgerald made history as the first African-American woman to win a Grammy Award. Due in no small part to her vocal quality, with lucid intonation and a … Continue reading Profile: Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

Profile: Billie Holiday (1915-1959)

Billie Holiday Biography Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday was born in 1915 in Philadelphia. Considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Holiday had a thriving career as a jazz singer for many years before she lost her battle with substance abuse. Also known as Lady Day, her autobiography was made into the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues. In 2000, Billie Holiday was inducted … Continue reading Profile: Billie Holiday (1915-1959)

Profile: John Coltrane (1926-1967)

Who Was John Coltrane?  John Coltrane was born on September 23, 1926, in Hamlet, North Carolina. During the 1940s and ’50s, he continued to develop his craft as a saxophonist and composer, working with famed musicians/bandleaders Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. Coltrane turned the jazz world on its head with technically marvelous, innovative playing that was thrillingly dense and fluid in its understanding of the genre; his … Continue reading Profile: John Coltrane (1926-1967)

Profile: Bill Duke (1947-)

  Film director and actor (William) Bill Duke was born on February 26, 1943 in Poughkeepsie, New York to Ethel Douglas Duke and William Duke, Sr. After earning his A.A. degree from Dutchess Community College, Duke became interested in the performing arts while attending Boston University in Massachusetts, although he initially enrolled as a pre-med student. He eventually majored in theater there, graduating in 1966, … Continue reading Profile: Bill Duke (1947-)