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Ernestine Anderson

Positioned squarely in the mainstream, at home in the worlds of jazz and pop standards as well as the blues, comfortable with small groups and big bands, Ernestine Anderson regularly received a lot of airplay on traditional jazz radio stations. She fit those demographics well with her tasteful, slightly gritty, moderately swinging contralto; she rarely probed too deeply into emotional quagmires (and thus didn't disturb the dispositions of those who use the radio as background) but always gave listeners an honest musical account.

Anderson's career actually got rolling in the embryonic R&B field at first; as a teenager, she sang with Russell Jacquet's band in 1943, and she moved on to the Johnny Otis band from 1947 to 1949, making her first recording with Shifty Henry's orchestra in 1947 for the Black & White label. In the '50s, however, she converted over to the jazz side, working with Lionel Hampton in 1952-1953 and recording with a band featuring Jacquet, Milt Jackson, and Quincy Jones in 1953, and with Gigi Gryce in 1955. Upon hearing the latter record, Rolf Ericson booked Anderson on a three-month Scandinavian tour; while in Sweden, she made a recording called Hot Cargo that, ironically, established her reputation in America. Once back in the U.S., she signed with Mercury and made a number of albums for that label until the early '60s.

She moved to England in 1965 and remained largely invisible on the American radar until 1975, when Ray Brown heard her sing at the Turnwater Festival in Canada. Brown became her manager, and got her to appear at the 1976 Concord Jazz Festival, which led to a Concord contract that immediately bore fruit with the albums Live from Concord to London and Hello Like Before. These and other comeback albums made her a top-flight jazz attraction in the U.S. again -- this time for the long haul -- and in the '80s, she was recording with the Hank Jones Trio, George Shearing, Benny Carter, the Capp-Pierce Juggernaut, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and her own quartet. By 1992, she had attracted major-label attention once again, signing with Quincy Jones' Qwest outfit. For Koch, Anderson issued Isn't It Romantic in 1998. The live album I Love Being Here with You appeared in 2002, while 2003’s Love Makes the Changes found her signed to Highnote. The label released her album A Song for You in 2009. Anderson remained with the label for 2011's Nightlife, a live album that featured the singer in a number of small-group settings, with a guest appearance by labelmate Houston Person. Anderson passed away from natural causes on March 10, 2016 at the age of 87. ~ Richard S. Ginell
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Never Make Your Move Too Soon

x

Track List: Hot Cargo!

1. Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart

2. Mad About The Boy

3. Did I Remember?

4. Day Dream

5. Our Love Is Here To Stay

6. Experiment

7. That Old Feeling

8. Song Is Ended

9. Supper Time

10. Love For Sale

11. Autumn In New York

12. You Go To My Head

13. My Man

14. Looking For A Boy

15. Ill Wind

16. Little Girl Blue

17. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams

Comments

Report as inappropriate
RIP Ernie
Report as inappropriate
prsfmail-man
Ernestine's tremendous gift of music and spirit lives on... Thank you for your gifts dear Ernestine. I love you
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rogana1955
ONE MORE CHANCE, Sweet! mama.
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p.greer22
To the Anderson family: Deepest Sympathy and Love
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p.greer22
We will never forget you! I'm going to Wrap My Troubles In Dreams, and dream my troubles away!
Report as inappropriate
ooopearlsooo
I find it utterly ridiculous that this woman was nominated several times for a Grammy but never won. In a career spanning more than fifty decades, she wasn't even nominated until the 80's. ugh
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Dakota Staton anyone? Anyone?
Report as inappropriate
How about "never make your move too soon".... Please
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prsfmail-man
Come on Pandora... Ernestine deserves more selections than just the two you are providing...
Report as inappropriate
I am happy to have discovered her. In my book she is the best jazz singer I have heard in a long time.
Report as inappropriate
New to her but her voice is lovely
Report as inappropriate
Ernie's the REALthing.
Report as inappropriate
I hate to say it, but she does a much better job on You go to my head than Billie Holliday.
Report as inappropriate
I agree..land1 4 9 2 m a s s . I think she was eclipsed by Sarah Vaughn even though they had two distinct styles at least to me. A beautiful voice still.
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land1492mass
Underated! Underated! Underated!.. . .
Report as inappropriate
Her voice is lush and beautiful
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Have heard this enchating artist sing live in several venues, it is a thrill to hear her on Pandora
Report as inappropriate
Fire that critic/bio writer. Just too full of him/herself.
Report as inappropriate
This is lovely. But which Pandora critic decided that this lesser known artist needed to be PUT IN HER PLACE? Jesus, what an asassination ! I get a lot of nonsense pushed at me by Pandora, that's the contract, but this was a swell surprise.
Report as inappropriate
I love the richness of her voice and her laid back style in "Autumn In N.Y."
Susan R.
Report as inappropriate
Wow! Love the character of this woman's voice!
Report as inappropriate
ruthyrussell
She conveys the essence of the lyric. Thank you for sharing your gift of song!
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denbrown1
Sounds a lot like Gloria Lynne. Great voice -- love that alto~
Report as inappropriate
I love to hear this lady sing. She tugs at my heart. what a voice. sexy,sexy. Thank you Ms. Anderson for making this music.

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