Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist, from Cafe Society to Hollywood to HUAC

Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist, from Cafe Society to Hollywood to HUAC

by Karen Chilton
     
 

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Scott was a child prodigy, born in Trinidad and raised in Harlem in the 1920s, and her musical talent was cultivated by her musician mother as well as several great jazz luminaries of the period, including Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, and Lester Young. Career success was swift for the young pianist: she auditioned at the prestigious Juilliard School

Overview

Scott was a child prodigy, born in Trinidad and raised in Harlem in the 1920s, and her musical talent was cultivated by her musician mother as well as several great jazz luminaries of the period, including Art Tatum, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, and Lester Young. Career success was swift for the young pianist: she auditioned at the prestigious Juilliard School when she was only eight years old, hosted her own radio show, and shared the bill at the Roseland Ballroom with the Count Basie Orchestra at fifteen. After Scott made several standout performances on Broadway, it was the opening of New York's first integrated nightclub, Café Society, that made her a star. She would later become one of the first black women to host her own television show.

During the 1940s and '50s, Scott's sexy and vivacious presence captivated fans worldwide, while her marriage to the controversial black congressman from Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., kept her constantly in the headlines. Her relentless activism on behalf of African Americans, women, and artists made her the target of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) during the McCarthy era, eventually forcing her to join the black expatriate community in Paris. Though she was once one of the most sought-after talents in show business, Scott would return to America, after years of living abroad, to a music world that no longer valued what she had to offer. In this first biography of an important but overlooked African American pianist, singer, actor, and activist, Hazel Scott's contributions are finally recognized.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[A] compact and engaging book . . . succinct and lucid. . . . Perhaps the highest compliment one can pay to this fine biography is that during the first 150 pages the reader is wondering why Scott isn’t better known, at least in the jazz world. But by the story’s end . . . the same reader knows exactly why, but is still likely to be singing her praises as a true trailblazer in African-American culture.”
JazzTimes

"A well-researched biography on an unnecessarily forgotten star."
New York City Jazz Record

JazzTimes
"[A] compact and engaging book . . . succinct and lucid. . . . Perhaps the highest compliment one can pay to this fine biography is that during the first 150 pages the reader is wondering why Scott isn’t better known, at least in the jazz world. But by the story's end . . . the same reader knows exactly why, but is still likely to be singing her praises as a true trailblazer in African-American culture."
JazzTimes

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780472034475
Publisher:
University of Michigan Press
Publication date:
07/08/2010
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
1,363,271
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.80(d)

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