Etta Jones Biography

25 November 1928, Aiken, South Carolina, USA, d. 16 October 2001, Mount Vernon, New York, USA. By the time she began singing professionally, Jones was living in New York. She worked with Buddy Johnson, then Pete Johnson, J.C. Heard and Earl Hines. She also worjked with her husband Gerald Wilson until they divorced in the early 50s. From the early 50s she often worked as a single, recording for Prestige Records and winning an award for Don’t Go With Strangers. Although her early singing, with Buddy Johnson, had been angled towards the R&B market, by the 70s she was sufficiently eclectic to work with mainstream artists such as Billy Taylor and she began a long-running partnership with her husband Houston Person, touring and recording extensively. On 1995’s At Last her voice sounded richer in texture and her versions of classic popular songs, such as ‘God Bless The Child’ were a triumph. In particular, pianist Benny Green added some exquisite piano.

A lively, strong-voiced singer with a rich, bluesy tone, Jones enjoyed a successful career despite being little known outside the jazz world and even within this arena she was sometimes overlooked in favour of less talented but better hyped singers.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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