Bessie Smith


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to Bessie Smith: Billie Holiday

Smith, Bessie,

1894–1937, American singer, b. Chattanooga, Tenn. About 1910 Smith became the protégée of Gertrude (Ma) Rainey, one of the earliest blues singers. After working in traveling shows she went to New York City, where she made (1923–28) recordings, accompanied by such outstanding artists as Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, and James P. Johnson. She quickly became the favorite singer of the jazz public. The power and somber beauty of her voice, coupled with songs representing every variety of the blues, earned her the title "Empress of the Blues." Around 1928, changing popular taste and her growing alcoholism led to a decline in her popularity. Though she continued to tour, her last years were embittered. She died after an automobile accident while on tour in Mississippi. Numerous critics regarded her as among the greatest of all jazz artists, and her fame increased enormously after her death.

Bibliography

See biographies by P. Oliver (1961) and C. Albertson (rev. ed. 2003).

Smith, Bessie

(1895–1937) vocalist; born in Chattanooga, Tenn. Beginning her career in the minstrel show of her mentor, Ma Rainey, between 1923–33 she toured extensively throughout the U.S.A. and recorded prolifically. Known as "Empress of the Blues," she established prototypes for both classic female blues singing and the hard-lived life associated with it.
References in periodicals archive ?
DuBois, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson and Bessie Smith; and 3) primary sources such as writings by DuBois, poetry of the Harlem Renaissance and writings of Hughes on racial identity and artistic integrity.
All genres are covered, from gospel to rock, punk to pop--and the biographies of such as Bessie Smith, Diana Ross, Madonna, Alicia Keys and more makes for an outstanding, lively survey highly recommended for any library strong in either women's history or music history.
In 1916, Charles Gilpin will establish the Lafayette Players and set the stage for Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, Stepin Fetchit and others.
Bessie Smith, who never sang in white theatres and would not have changed her style if she had, is--like the blues--the least corrupted and corruptible part of jazz, and, therefore, the purest carrier of the jazz protest.
Kool Herc Billie Holiday Lightnin' Hopkins Son House B.B.King Mahalia Jackson Michael Jackson Robert Johnson Scott Joplin Bob Marley Carmen McRae Charlie (Bird) Parker Prince Ma Rainey Little Richard Paul Robeson Smokey Robinson Bessie Smith Charles Tindley Sister Rosetta Thorpe Ike and Tina Turner Sarah Vaughan Muddy Waters Howlin' Wolf Jackie Wilson Stevie Wonder
Originally built as the Alhambra Theater in 1905, it began as a vaudeville venue, eventually showing movies and opening an upstairs ballroom hosting legendary performers such as Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday.
We picked wild blackberries, cooked turtle soup and shad roe, and listened to Bessie Smith. Finally, we became housemates, living together for nearly seven years.
Rowling and music legends Patsy Cline and Bessie Smith.
Past performers include Bessie Smith, Nat King Cole, and Cab Calloway.
Barnet presents the lives and works of women poets, artists, singers, writers, and entrepreneurs such as Mina Loy, Isadora Duncan, Margaret Anderson, Jane Heap, Marianne Moore, Bessie Smith, and A'Lelia Walker through their own words and images as well as through Barnet's lively commentary.
"Memphis Minnie ranks with Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton as one of the blues' most influential and historically significant female artists.
Dorsey, soul crooner Sam Cooke, Motown chief Berry Gordy, blues empress Bessie Smith, soul sister supreme Aretha Franklin, funkmaster George Clinton, among others.