Today is Beverly Kenney's birthday. Sometimes it almost seems as if this space operates as a Kenney web site. Since beginning this blog a year-or-so ago, I've posted a number of entries relating to this great jazz singer.
Here is a link to the most extensive BK post .
Recently a friend of Beverly's sent me a memoir of his friendship with her. Here is small portion of it:
"Millie was from Fairlawn, New Jersey, and both Beverly and I knew her. One night she called Beverly and said that Nicky Hilton of the Hilton Hotels and a much sought-after bachelor had seen her picture on a magazine cover and through his connections had tracked her down and asked her for a date. Millie, who was really shy, said yes, but only if he'd take her to the Vanguard to see Beverly perform. Beverly arranged with Max Gordon, the club owner, to get us the best table. We got to the club, Beverly went to her dressing room, and I went to the table to wait for Millie and Nicky. Now Nicky had a well deserved reputation as a world-class playboy. He raced cars, boats, and planes, was very good looking, and had been married to Elizabeth Taylor. The place started to fill up and just about ten minutes before the show was to start, Nicky and Millie came in. They caused a bit of a stir as they walked over to the table. The Vanguard of those days was a serious club, it had the best jazz musicians and the best comics. It was a breeding ground for stardom. The place fell silent as the lights dimmed and the spot picked up Beverly. She looked sensational and my heart skipped a beat as she started off with 'You Make Me Feel So Young.' The crowd loved her, but after a few songs, I could hear a group of four people behind us talking while Beverly was singing. This was just not done at the Vanguard; you came to hear the performance, no one else. I turned around and saw two cigar-smoking guys with two world-class bimbos. I told them we came to hear the girl, not them, and to please keep quiet. As they continued to drink more, their talk grew louder, until when Beverly started to sing 'I Long for a Lover, a Certain Kind of Lover', one of them yelled out a rather ungentlemanly remark. As if it had been well orchestrated, Nicky and I were on these two guys in a blink of an eye and before we could throw our second punches, the bouncer had ejected the two cigars and the bims. Beverly hardly missed a note, but did introduce us to the crowd and loud applause when she finished her song. She sure was fun."