For as long as I can remember, I have been crazy for the music of the Great Girl Jazz Singers of the past. When I was a little girl, my gramma and I would often snuggle up to the radio to listen to singers such as Jo Stafford. Some performed at the legendary Mount Hood Jazz Festival which I attended many years. Stars like Anita O'Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Cleo Laine, and Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, and Nancy Wilson graced the stage at Mt. Community College at that outdoor music fest, stars twinkling above and moon listening through the treetops.
Many of those greats are now gone, but lucky for us, Christa Wessel at KMHD is keeping the music alive on her weekly Divaville radio show right here in the Portland area at 89.1 on your FM dial. Every week you can hear music by Nina Simone, Shirley Horn, Rosemary Clooney, Billie Holiday, Julie London, and Peggy Lee along with so many other unforgettable voices.
The "Flowers for" paintings is a new series I created to honor the "Girl Jazz Singers" from the Golden Age of Jazz. It was common for the singers to tuck a flower behind one ear during their performance. Perhaps the most famous was Billie Holiday, honored here in my painting called, Flowers for Billie's Hair.
Sold, Highlands Gallery
© Margret E. Short 2011, OPA. AWA
The paintings shown below in the previous posts represent the ever funny and entertaining Pearl Baily, Blossom Dearie who was once a librarian, and the sultry Keely Smith. All three paintings are on display at the Gallery 903 in Portland, Oregon.
I invite you to cuddle up to your computer or wrap your arms around your radio any Wednesday evening at 7 and enjoy both male and female voices from the past. You can even send or call in requests. Stir up some martinis and kick back the rug to enjoy two hours of nostalgic music from the 1920's to the '60s.
If you have any suggestions for my "Flowers for" series, I would love to hear from you.