Sylvain Music Notes (5/10/10) - Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress known for her signature song "Stormy Weather" and for her triumph over the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, has died. She was 92 according to AP writer Verena Dobnik.
Horne died Sunday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin. Chin would not release any other details.
Horne, whose striking beauty and magnetic sex appeal often overshadowed her talent and artistry, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success: "I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept," she once said. "I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked . . ."
New Orleans jazz vocalist Stephanie Jordan upon reflecting on how Lena Horne has affected her musical style offers, "I am extremely saddened at the lost of Lena Horne. She was my first introduction to great jazz singers. As a little girl I wanted to be Lena Horne, and that is why I chose to honor her during last year’s 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Presented by Shell. I wanted to do something in her honor while she was still with us.
I will never forget her electric performance at the Saenger Theater which has influence my interpretation of songs and my stage presentation, watching her perform with my father Kidd Jordan in the horn section that evening was the first time I imagine myself as a professional singer. In Lena Horne, I saw everything that a jazz singer was supposed to be.
It was that reflection of her 1980’s performance which prompted me to develop the "Tribute to Lena Horne Big Band Show and CD". I have been studying her repertoire and working with noted-producer Dr. Henry Panion on the tribute album which will be release later this fall.
It is Lena Horne’s music which helps me to define who I am as a singer and I only hope that her passing does not mean the end of the big band era of music and hope I am able to carry that torch with a similar style, grace, and elegance of Lena Horne."
During my recent performance during the inauguration of New Orleans’ Mayor Mitch Landrieu, I ended the set with one of Lena’s signature songs, "From This Moment On" because it speaks of a promise of a better day," adds Jordan.