HALL Juanita 1958

Juanita Hall 1901-1968. A singer and actress from Keyport, New Jersey, she was educated in the public school system there and she developed her voice while singing in the local Catholic church choir. Hall attended Juilliard School of Music in New York City. As a teenager she was married to Clement Hall who died in 1920. Her first successful performance was Julie in Show Boat in 1928. Hall appeared in Green Pastures in 1930 with the Hall Johnson Choir and eventually became the assistant choir director. 
She extender her director abilities to included the Works Progress Administration Chorus from 1935 to 1944, The Westchester Chorale and Dramatics Association 1941 to 1942 and her own choir, The Juanita Hall Choir in 1942. Hall’s voice could be heard on radio too, with Rudy Vallee and Kate Smith. She sang on Broadway from 1943 to 1947 in The Pirate, Sing Out, Sweet Land, Saint Louis Woman, Deep Are the Roots, and Street Scene. Hall sang on the nightclub circuit and was discovered by Richard Rogers. He cast her in the roll of Bloody Mary in South Pacific in 1949 where she won the Donaldson Award for her supporting role. 
She performed in her one-woman show, A Woman and the Blues and was also cast as the Chinese lady Madam Liang in Flower Drum Song. All of the characters Hall played were done convincingly.

Juanita Halls explains: "At the age of eleven, I first heard a recording by Bessie Smith. Ever since I have been haunted by the desire to sing "The Blues". Why? Blues are a living folk form and express a personal emotional outlet which we all craw. Real folk blues are stories -sometimes humorous, sometimes sorrowful, sometimes filled with pain and heartache and sometimes just "getting things off your chest". Then there is that powerful, pulsating rhythm like the beat of the human heart itself. In singing these songs, I have tried to keep the authenticity and flavor of the real folk blues, and in no way do I claim to imitate Bessie Smith. I do not believe that anyone can duplicate what she has created, because when it came to "blues singing" Bessie had the "world in a jug, and the stopper was in her hand".
This recording session was made in 1958 with the great Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax and Claude Hopkins, Buster Bailey, Doc Cheatham, Jimmy Crawford and George Duvivier.


No comments: