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Monday, 21 October 2013

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN " HELEN HUMES " WAS A VERSATILE SINGER EQUALLY SKILLED ON BLUES, SWING STANDARDS AND BALLADS : HER CHEERFUL STYLE WAS ALWAYS A JOY TO HEAR : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "

                             BLACK           SOCIAL           HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Helen Humes was a




























































versatile singer equally skilled on blues, swing standards, and ballads. Her cheerful style was always a joy to hear. As a child, she played piano and organ in church, and made her first recordings (ten blues songs in 1927) when she was only 13 and 14. In the 1930s, she worked with Stuff Smith and Al Sears, recording with Harry James in 1937-1938. In 1938, Humes joined Count Basie's Orchestra for three years. Since Jimmy Rushing
specialized in blues, Helen Humes mostly got stuck singing pop ballads, but she did a fine job. After freelancing in New York (1941-1943) and touring with Clarence Love (1943-1944), Humes moved to Los Angeles. She began to record as a leader and had a hit in "Be-Baba-Leba"; her 1950 original "Million Dollar Secret" is a classic. Humes sometimes performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic, but was mostly a single in the 1950s. She recorded three superb albums for Contemporary during 1959-1961, and had tours with Red Norvo. She moved to Australia in 1964, returning to the U.S. in 1967 to take care of her ailing mother. Humes was out of the music business for several years, but made a full comeback in 1973, and stayed busy up until her death. Throughout her career, Helen Humes recorded for such labels as Savoy, Aladdin, Mercury, Decca, Dootone, Contemporary, Classic Jazz, Black & Blue, Black Lion, Jazzology, Columbia, and Muse.



Helen Humes  June 23, 1913 – September 9, 1981  was an American jazz and blues singer.
Humes was successively a teenage blues singer, band vocalist with Count Basie, saucy R&B diva and a mature interpreter of the classy popular song.

Career]

Humes was born in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, was spotted by the guitarist Sylvester Weaver and made her first recordings in 1927, her true young voice consorting oddly with bizarre material such as "Garlic Blues".
She moved to New York City in 1937 and became a recording vocalist with Harry James' big band. Her swing recordings with James included "Jubilee", "I Can Dream, Can't I?", Jimmy Dorsey's composition "It's The Dreamer In Me", and "Song of the Wanderer".
Humes became one of the vocalists with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1938, replacing Billie Holiday as lead female vocalist. Her vocals with Basie's band included "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "Moonlight Serenade".
During the 1940s and 1950s, Humes became a solo performer and worked with different bands and other vocalists, among them Nat King Cole. She sounded very sprightly on the jump blues Be-Baba-Leba (Philo, 1945) and Million Dollar Secret (Modern, 1950).
In 1950 Humes recorded Benny Carter's "Rock Me to Sleep". She managed to bridge the gap between big band jazz swing and rhythm and blues. She appeared on the bill at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1960.
She moved to Hawaii and then to Australia in 1964, returning to the US in 1967 to take care of her ailing mother. Humes was out of the music industry for several years but made a full comeback in 1973 at the Newport Jazz Festival, and stayed busy up until her death, performing all over Europe, for instance, including at the prestigious Nice Jazz Festival in the mid-1970s. She received the Music Industry of France Award in 1973, and the key to the city of Louisville in 1975.
Helen Humes died of cancer at the age of 68 in Santa Monica, California. She is buried at the Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California.