Monday, October 17, 2011


I posted this earlier today on the yahoo jazz west coast site:

Lucy Ann Polk, perhaps the most underrated jazz singer in the history of the art form, has just died. I received the news from a totally reliable source, but about all I know is that it happened on the 10th of this month. I had a few "live" encounters with Lucy Ann over the years, and she was absolutely one of the sweetest, brightest, funniest people I've ever met. She sang at one of the parties where I first met her---circa 2005---and she still had "it."

When I was first introduced to Lucy Ann 5-6 years ago she warned me, in so many words, that she was suffering from dementia, then proceeded to be terribly quick on the uptake. Two of her wittier remarks that I recall:

Me: You ARE aware that experts on the subject consider you a very important singer, aren't you?

Lucy Ann: No. I guess they've been keeping that from me.

Me: I just listened to a late period Frank Sinatra recording where he added 54 syllables to the lyrics of a song (i.e. "hey now," etc.)

Lucy Ann: Well I guess he must think that's hip.

Maybe, as they, say, "you had to be there" and it was all in the delivery, a practice at which Lucy Ann was most adept.

If you would like to know more about Lucy Ann---a lot more---I strongly recommended the following web site erected by her number one fan, Siegfried Holzbauer:

Don't know any details at this juncture except that she died on the 10th.


Jeffinprov said...

While it's saddening that she has died, how nice it is that Lucy Ann Polk evidently had a sane and balanced life, taken as a whole. "Lucky Lucy Ann" is such an extraordinary record in every way. (Apart from the quality of the music, what WERE they doing at Radio Recorders, and why didn't everyone else do it that way? Such great sound.) She was the gold standard.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the posting, Bill. I miss your more frequent updates from the past, but I stll enjoy reviewing the older postings.


Bill Reed said...

Radio Recorders was the "Gold Standard" of recording studios in H'wood circa 1940s-1960s. Nearly everything of merit was recorded there. Famous, famous stuff. The Ella Songbooks, etc. In later years it functioned as a (c)rap factory. But I so wanted to produce my first CD at the historic place (in 2001), so I bit the bullet. RR was highly unprofessional at that point and very expensive, but the acoustics and the piano were killer. I think RR is gone now and, if so, it bit the dust w/o major historic attention. That says more about the present cultural climate we live in than anything else I can think of. Like tearing down Carnegie Hall w/o so much as a bang or whimper.