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Posts tagged: Mildred Bailey

AM: Tribe Reclaims Jazz Singer Bailey

Jazz singer Mildred Bailey performs at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Bailey was known as the “Mrs. Swing,” one of the great white jazz singers of the 1930s and 1940s. But when she died penniless in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1951, few knew her real roots. Now, the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe hopes to set the record straight: Bailey was was an enrolled member who spent her childhood on the reservation near DeSmet before hitting it big in Los Angeles. Jim Kershner SR story here. (April 1947 AP Photo/ The Library of Congress, William Gottlieb)

CdA Tribe Touts ‘Mrs. Swing’s’ Roots

Mildred Rinker Bailey was known to fans as “Mrs. Swing,” whose slight, throaty voice won her acclaim as one of the great white jazz singers of the 1930s and 1940s. But the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe is now hoping to set the record straight once and for all: Bailey, who died impoverished in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1951, was an American Indian who spent her childhood on the reservation near DeSmet, Idaho. This week, the tribe introduced a resolution honoring Bailey in the Idaho Legislature, in part to convince the Jazz at Lincoln Center Hall of Fame in New York City to add her to its inductees — on grounds she helped blaze a trail for better-known singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. “Mildred was a pioneer,” said Coeur d'Alene Tribal Chairman Chief J. Allan. “She paved the way for many other female singers to follow”/AP. More here. (Photo: Mildred Bailey images Web site)

Question: I sometimes listen to my old vinyls of Billie Holiday while writing my Huckleberries print column. She's my favorite female jazz singer. Who's yours?

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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