Album of the Week – Ernestine Anderson Swings the Penthouse
Ernestine Anderson’s ‘Ernestine Anderson Swings the Penthouse’ is Eastside Radio’s Album of the Week. The album captures a time in Anderson’s legendary career where she cemented her rightful place in the Jazz Hall of Fame. The release is a compilation of Anderson’s performances at Seattle’s world-class venue, ‘The Penthouse’ on February the 7th and October 24th and 31st 1962. HighNote Records Inc. discovered these rare recordings and remastered them with the help of John Rosenberg to bring fans this intimate and exclusive snapshot during the success of this diva’s career. The album features the quartet of Dick Palombi on piano, Chuck Metcalf on bass, and Bill Richardson on drums, with Anderson leading the outfit with her signature vocal styling’s.
About Ernestine Anderson:
At the tender age of three Ernestine Anderson began to shape her illustrious vocal career singing along to the tones of Bessie Smith and harmonising with her local gospel choir. No sooner did the bluesy stylings of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters enter her vocabulary through her parents personal library, did she mature to establish herself as the legendary jazz and blues vocalist she is currently known for. Her hometown of Huston Texas proved to be a fertile environment to foster Anderson’s talents, supporting fellow artists like Jimmie Lunceford, Billy Eckstine, Erskine Hawkins and Count Basie. Her first talent contest helped direct Anderson to her true talent as a jazz singer after the some perceptive commentary from the judges.
“I only knew two songs,” she admitted, “‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’ and ‘So Long’. The piano player asked me what key did I do these songs in and I just said ‘C’ for some reason and it was the wrong key. In order to save face I sang around the melody, improvised among the melody, and when I finished one of the musicians told me I was a jazz singer.” – Stokes, W. Royal. The Jazz Scene: An Informal History from New Orleans to 1990 (1998), p. 159
Her career took her around the work, performing on renowned stages like Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, at the Monterey Jazz Festival (six times over a 33-year span) and more. She has also toured with the likes of Johnny Otis’s Band, Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra and trumpeter Rolf Ericson. Her career now stands at more than five decades of working in the industry, a Grammy Award nomination and more than 27 albums comprising her recorded body of work.
Also be sure to tune in this week to 89.7FM EASTSIDE RADIO for your chance to WIN a copy of Ernestine Anderson’s release, ‘Ernestine Anderson Swings the Penthouse. You must be a supporter to win so make sure to sign up at http://eastsidefm.org/support-us-2/. Don’t forget you can also stream the station at www.eastsidefm.org.