Herb JeffriesView In iTunes
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Although not really a jazz singer, Herb Jeffries was the last surviving member of the 1940 Duke Ellington Orchestra and a fine interpreter of swing songs and ballads. He performed with Erskine Tate in the early '30s, Earl Hines (1931-1934), and Blanche Calloway, before becoming the first black cowboy actor in a series of '30s Westerns. He gained his greatest fame while with Ellington (1940-1942), having a big hit in "Flamingo." Jeffries, who recorded with Sidney Bechet in 1940, worked as a single artist after leaving Ellington in 1942, recording on an occasional basis and remaining active into the mid-'90s. He died, reportedly of heart failure, on May 25, 2014 in West Hills, California. ~ Scott Yanow