Adelaide Louise Hall (October 20 1901 – November 7 1993) was an American-born UK-based jazz singer and entertainer. Her long career spanned more than 70 years from 1921 until her death and she was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hall entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world's most enduring recording artist having released material over eight consecutive decades. She performed with major artists such as Art Tatum Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fela Sowande Rudy Vallee and Jools Holland, and recorded as a jazz singer with Duke Ellington (with whom she made her most famous recording, "Creole Love Call" in 1927) and with Fats Waller.
Adelaide Hall was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Elizabeth and Arthur William Hall and was taught to sing by her father. She began her stage career in 1921 on Broadway in the chorus line of the Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake hit musical Shuffle Along and went on to appear in a number of similar black musical shows including Runnin' Wild on Broadway in 1923 in which she was given James P. Johnson's hit song "Old-Fashioned Love" to sing, Chocolate Kiddies in 1925 (European tour) that included songs written by Duke Ellington, My Magnolia on Broadway in 1926 with a score written by Luckey Roberts and Alex C. Rogers,Tan Town Topics in 1926 with songs written by Fats Waller and in Desires of 1927 (American tour October 1926 through to September 1927) with a score written by Andy Razaf and J. C. Johnson.
Adelaide Hall was one of the major entertainers of the Harlem Renaissance. Along with Louis Armstrong, she pioneered scat singing and is widely acknowledged as one of the world's first jazz singers. Indeed, Ella Fitzgerald regarded her as such. Hall was the first female vocalist to sing and record with Duke Ellington. She holds the accolade of being the 20th century's most enduring female recording artist, her recording career having spanned eight decades. In 1941, Hall replaced Gracie Fields as Britain's highest paid female entertainer.
In the "100 Great Records of the 1920s" Adelaide Hall is at number 26 with Duke Ellington's Orchestra, singing "The Blues I Love To Sing" (Duke Ellington/Bubber Miley) Victor 21490, 1927.
Influential writer Langston Hughes in his book Famous Negro Music Makers (published by Dodd, Mead, 1955) lists individual musicians that helped develop jazz, after which he states that ‘jazz singers too, had not been without influence on the development of this (Jazz) music,’ and then includes Adelaide Hall alongside Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Ray Nance and Joe Carroll, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Albert Hunter, Baby Cox and Florence Mills as all being outstanding jazz vocalists of their time.
Adelaide Hall is mentioned in the novel Strange Brother (set in New York in the late 1920s, early 1930s) written by Blair Niles and first published in 1931.
Published in 1998, Marsha Hunt's novel Like Venus Fading was inspired by the lives of Adelaide Hall (known as the lightly-tanned Venus), Josephine Baker and Dorothy Dandridge.
When Harry Met Addie composed by Gavin Bryars (1999) (Publisher: Schott Music Ltd., London). Bryars wrote When Harry Met Addie as a tribute to Adelaide Hall and saxophonist Harry Carney. The piece was first performed at the Duke Ellington Memorial Concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on 1 May 1999 and was commissioned by the baritone saxophonist/bass clarinettist John Surman. The soprano was Cristina Zavalloni and the London Sinfonietta Big Band was conducted by Diego Masson.
Hall was loosely portrayed as the nightclub chanteuse in the Francis Ford Coppola 1984 movie The Cotton Club.
It was Hall's husband, Bert Hicks, who suggested to Eric Bartholomew's mother that he should change his stage name to Morecambe, after the place of her son's birth, thereby christening the British comic duo Morecambe and Wise.
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