Ethel Waters

Genres: Blues Comedy Documentaries Drama Jazz Musicals & The Arts Television Vocals
Decades Active: 1950s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

Biography

Ethel Howard, 31 October 1896, Chester, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 1 September 1977, Chatsworth, California, USA. One of the most influential of popular singers, Waters’ early career found her working in vaudeville. As a consequence, her repertoire was more widely based and popularly angled than those of many of her contemporaries. It is reputed that she was the first singer to perform W.C. Handy’s ‘St. Louis Blues’ in public, and she later popularized blues and jazz-influenced songs such as ‘Stormy Weather’ and ‘Travellin’ All Alone’, also scoring a major success with ‘Dinah’. She first recorded in 1921, and on her early sessions she was accompanied by artists such as Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, James P. Johnson and Duke Ellington. Significantly, for her acceptance in white circles, she also recorded with Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey.

From the late 20s, Waters...

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