Friday, December 15, 2006

One Shot Wonders, pt. 4

Tokyo Vocal Jazz Appreciation Society speech pt 4, see below for intro


Another album in the can for 50 years or nearly so, until it was rescued in Japan last year by SSJ Records. (reading from the liner notes) "Bill Black was born in 1927 to a musical family in Granite City, Illinois. He started singing professionally at an early age and, after several years in St. Louis, headed for New York. Gene Krupa hired Black as his band's vocalist in 1948. Black, who was with Krupa for 18 months, was the last fully-employed 'boy' singer with the band before it folded in 1950.

George T. Simon predicted that Black would become the next big singer, in the lineage of Crosby, Sinatra, Haymes and Como. In the 1949 "Down Beat" magazine readers' poll of Band Singers, he came in fourth, just behind Johnny Hartman and one notch ahead of Buddy Greco.

But Black's career did not progress after he left Krupa. I met Black when the he was working as a desk clerk at the YMCA in New York City in the early 1960's. We became friends and Black gave me the original acetate disc of Down in the Depths, recorded in the mid-fifties. Black cut more than two dozen air checks with Gene Krupa’s band, but this is his only official album. He died in 1989.

(Down in the Depths, So It’s Spring)

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