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Betty Roche

Betty Roche’s recording of "Take the A Train" with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1952 has remained one of the most famous and enduring of Ellington's recordings, and the song with which she is associated. Born Mary Elizabeth Roche in Wilmington, Delaware on Jan. 9, 1920, she began her career by winning a talent contest at the Apollo Theater in Harlem when she was 17. This led eventually to her joining the Savoy Sultans, the resident band at the Savoy Ballroom, in 1941. Typifying the episodic nature of Roche's career, the band broke up soon after she joined it. She made her first record on the band's last recording session, a song called "At's In There." She also sang briefly for bands led by the tenor sax player Lester Young and trumpeter Hot Lips Page. She traveled to Hollywood in 1942 with the Ellington band to make the film Reveille With Beverly (also featuring Frank Sinatra and the Count Basie and Bob Crosby bands). Roche was to sing "Take the A Train"

ARTICLE: RADIO

BIG January Birthday Salutes!

Read "BIG January Birthday Salutes!" reviewed by Marc Cohn

BIG, I mean BIG January birthday salutes on Gifts & Messages this week: 120th birth anniversary for trombonists Juan Tizol and Wilbur De Paris; 110th for Django Reinhardt; 100th for vocalist Betty Roché and saxophonist Jimmy Forrest; 90th for saxophonist Jack Nimitz, trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and pianist/vibraphonist Buddy Montgomery. And special birthday greetings to bassist Eberhard ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Billy Vera: Still In The Game

Read "Billy Vera: Still In The Game" reviewed by Scott Mitchell

It might be safe to say that a lot of people may know a little bit about Billy Vera but only a few people know a lot about Billy Vera. Billy is a singer, writer, producer, actor, Grammy winner, and music historian. He has performed with big bands, Billy And The Beaters, solo, and everything in ...

ARTICLE: BOOK EXCERPTS

George Russell: The Story of an American Composer

Read "George Russell: The Story of an American Composer" reviewed by Duncan Heining

This article, adapted by the author, appears in Chapter 4 of George Russell: The Story of an American Composer, by Duncan Heining (Scarecrow Press, 2010). New York, NY It was May 1945, the war was still on, Bebop was at its height in New York and George Russell and his two ...

NEWS: FESTIVAL

12th Annual Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival

12th Annual Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival—It's All Jazz, April 1- 30, 2011 presented by the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium/CBJC at venues from Coney Island to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. This celebration is New York City's longest continually running grass roots festival dedicated to Jazz. The presentation offers more than 30 events on 23 days with over 100 ...


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