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It Don't Mean a Thing - The Best of Ivie Anderson

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Album Review

Vocalist Ivie Anderson made her debut with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1931. It was a dream job for a young singer: performing with the best band in the business. The Duke Ellington Orchestra were certainly that, with a music roster that included such luminaries as Billy Strayhorn, Barney Bigard, Ben Webster, Cootie Williams, and Johnny Hodges. Ellington handpicked the song that would catapult Ivie Anderson to fame. The refrain of "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Don't Have That Swing" captured the spirit of the age: the swing era was christened with the release of this song. Anderson's smooth and sultry voice and genius at scatting epitomized the desired qualities of a jazz band singer. Many of the artist's best efforts are gathered here on this remastered collection of her songs recorded with the band from 1932 to 1946. They are pure delight. Tunes such as "Stormy Weather," "Mood Indigo," "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good," "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street," "My Old Flame,""Troubled Waters," and "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" hearken back to an age characterized by sensuality and elegance. "I'm Checkin' out, Go'om Bye" reminds the listener that although, sadly, Ivie Anderson checked out of life when she was only 44, she left a musical legacy that has seldom been rivaled and will never be forgotten.


Born: 10 July 1905 in Gilroy, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s

Ivie Anderson was a classy yet swinging singer, the best that Duke Ellington ever had. Early on she worked at the Cotton Club in shows and sang with Anson Weeks, Curtis Mosby, Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders, and Earl Hines (1930). And then, from February 1931 until 1942, Ivie Anderson was an integral part of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, introducing "It Don't Mean a Thing" and singing such numbers as "Stormy Weather," "I'm Checkin' Out -- Go'om Bye," and a variety of pop tunes. When she left Ellington,...
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