Monday, August 14, 2006

The One and ONLY Lorez

Today is the birthday of LOREZ ALEXANDRIA (b 1929 Chicago, died L.A. 2001)

In 1994 Alexandria performed at an afternoon concert at Pedrini's Music Store in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley and hundreds of fans were on hand. Many had to content themselves with hearing and seeing her on the in-store video setup. One of those rare singers who I could not detect had lost anything vocally over the years.

She had an interesting background which includes, according to the liner notes for her 1964 Lorez the Great, “an eleven-year association with an a cappella singing group directed by Lu-Shay Allen [a former minstrel comedian turned Baptist minister]. The singers appeared in and around Chicago, made occasional short trips through the Midwest, and on one occasion sang for President Harry S. Truman at Blair House in Washington, DC.”

In 1992 Leonard Feather posited the notion that the ONLY thing that stood in the way of Alexandria’s moving to the forefront of Great American Songbirds was her failure to attach herself to a signature tune (or at least repertoire), i.e. “an outstanding piece of material that could become exclusively identified with her and perhaps catch the ear of a recording executive.” Still that didn't stop Alexandria from amassing a large body of work, consisting of more that twenty albums on the Impulse, King, Argo, Discovery, Pazz and Hindsight labels.

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