sábado, 10 de septiembre de 2011

Oscar Peterson

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson CC CQ OOnt (August 15, 1925 – December 23, 2007) was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the "Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, "O.P." by his friends. He released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career. He is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, having played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years.
Peterson was born to immigrants from the West Indies; his father worked as a porter for Canadian Pacific Railway. Peterson grew up in the neighbourhood of Little Burgundy in Montreal, Quebec. It was in this predominantly black neighbourhood that he found himself surrounded by the jazz culture that flourished in the early 20th century. At the age of five, Peterson began honing his skills with the trumpet and piano. However, a bout of tuberculosis at age seven prevented him from playing the trumpet again, and so he directed all his attention to the piano. His father, Daniel Peterson, an amateur trumpeter and pianist, was one of his first music teachers, and his sister Daisy taught young Oscar classical piano. Young Oscar was persistent at practising scales and classical etudes daily, and thanks to such arduous practice he developed his astonishing virtuosity.
As a child, Peterson also studied with Hungarian-born pianist Paul de Marky, a student of Istvan Thomán who was himself a pupil of Franz Liszt, so his training was predominantly based on classical piano. Meanwhile he was captivated by traditional jazz and learned several ragtime pieces and especially the boogie-woogie. At that time Peterson was called "the Brown Bomber of the Boogie-Woogie.
At age nine Peterson played piano with control that impressed professional musicians. For many years his piano studies included four to six hours of practice daily. Only in his later years did he decrease his daily practice to just one or two hours.

In 1940, at age fourteen, Peterson won the national music competition organized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. After that victory, he dropped out of school and became a professional pianist working for a weekly radio show, and playing at hotels and music halls.
Peterson resided in a two-storey house on Hammond Road in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, until his death in 2007 of kidney failure.
Some of the artists who influenced Peterson's musicianship during the early years were Teddy Wilson, Nat "King" Cole, James P. Johnson and Art Tatum, to whom many have tried to compare Peterson in later years. One of his first exposures to Tatum's musical talents came early in his teen years when his father played Art Tatum's Tiger Rag for him, and Peterson was so intimidated by what he heard that he became disillusioned about his own playing, to the extent of refusing to play the piano at all for several weeks. In his own words, "Tatum scared me to death" and Peterson was "never cocky again" about his mastery at the piano. Tatum was a model for Peterson's musicianship during the 1940s and 1950s. Tatum and Peterson eventually became good friends, although Peterson was always shy about being compared with Tatum and rarely played the piano in Tatum's presence.
Peterson has also credited his sister Daisy Sweeney — a noted piano teacher in Montreal who also taught several other noted Canadian jazz musicians — with being an important teacher and influence on his career. Under his sister's tutelage, Peterson expanded into classical piano training and broadened his range while mastering the core classical pianism from scales to preludes and fugues by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Building on Art Tatum's pianism and aesthetics, Peterson also absorbed Tatum's musical influences, notably from piano concertos by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Rachmaninoff's harmonizations, as well as direct quotations from his 2nd Piano Concerto, are thrown in here and there in many recordings by Peterson, including his work with the most familiar formulation of the Oscar Peterson Trio, with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis. During the 1960s and 1970s Peterson made numerous trio recordings highlighting his piano performances that reveal more of his eclectic style that absorbed influences from various genres of jazz, popular and classical music.

From the late 1950s, when Peterson gained worldwide recognition as one of the leading pianists in jazz, he played in a variety of settings: solo, duo, trio, quartet, small bands, and big bands. However, his solo piano recitals, as well as his solo piano recordings were rare, until he chose to make a series of solo albums titled "Exclusively for my friends." These solo piano sessions, made for the Musik Produktion Schwarzwald (MPS) label, were Peterson's response to the emergence of such stars as Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner.
Some cognoscenti assert that Peterson's best recordings were made for MPS in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For some years subsequently he recorded for Granz's Pablo Records after the label was founded in 1973. In the 1990s and 2000s he recorded several albums accompanied by a combo for Telarc.
In the 1980s he played successfully in a duo with pianist Herbie Hancock. In the late 1980s and 1990s, after the stroke, Peterson made performances and recordings with his protégé Benny Green.
Peterson wrote pieces for piano, for trio, for quartet and for big band. He also wrote several songs, and made recordings as a singer. Probably his best-known compositions are "Canadiana Suite" and "Hymn to Freedom," the latter composed in the 1960s and inspired by the U.S. civil rights movement.
Peterson taught piano and improvisation in Canada, mainly in Toronto. With associates, he started and headed the Advanced School of Contemporary Music in Toronto for five years during the 1960s, but it closed because concert touring called him and his associates away, and it did not have government funding. Later, he mentored the York University jazz program and was the Chancellor of the entire university for several years in the early 1990s. He also published his original jazz piano etudes for practice. However, he asked his students to study the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, especially the Well Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations, and The Art of Fugue, considering these piano pieces essential for every serious pianist. Pianists Benny Green and Oliver Jones were among his students.

Peterson had arthritis since his youth, and in later years could hardly button his shirt. Never slender, his weight increased to 125 kg (280 lb), hindering his mobility. He had hip replacement surgery in the early 1990s. Although the surgery was successful, his mobility was still inhibited. Somewhat later, in 1993, Peterson suffered a serious stroke that weakened his left side and sidelined him for two years. Also in 1993 incoming Prime Minister and longtime Peterson fan and friend Jean Chrétien offered Peterson the position of Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, but according to Chrétien he declined, citing the health problems from his recent stroke.
After the stroke, Peterson recuperated for about two years. He gradually regained mobility and some control of his left hand. However, his virtuosity was never restored to the original level, and his playing after his stroke relied principally on his right hand. In 1995 he returned to public performances on a limited basis, and also made several live and studio recordings for Telarc. In 1997 he received a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement and an International Jazz Hall of Fame Award, another indication that Peterson continued to be regarded as one of the greatest jazz musicians ever to play. Canadian politician, friend, and amateur pianist Bob Rae contends that "a one-handed Oscar was better than just about anyone with two hands".
In 2003, Peterson recorded the DVD A Night in Vienna for Verve, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (NHØP), Ulf Wakenius and Martin Drew. He continued to tour the U.S. and Europe, though maximally one month a year, with a couple of days' rest between concerts to recover his strength. His accompanists consisted of Ulf Wakenius (guitar), NHØP or David Young (bass), and Alvin Queen (drums), all leaders of their own groups.

Peterson's health declined rapidly in 2007. He had to cancel his performance at the 2007 Toronto Jazz Festival and his attendance at a June 8, 2007 Carnegie Hall all-star performance in his honour, owing to illness. On December 23, 2007, Peterson died of kidney failure at his home in Mississauga, Ontario. He left seven children, his fourth wife Kelly, and their daughter, Celine (born 1991).



Oscar Peterson (Montreal, 15 de agosto de 1925 - Mississauga, 23 de diciembre de 2007) fue un pianista canadiense de jazz.
Su estilo, formado durante los años cuarenta como en el caso de otros pianistas como Erroll Garner y George Shearing, oscila entre el swing y el bop, y se engloba dentro de la tendencia clasicista o tradicional del jazz. Seguidor de Art Tatum, se trata de un pianista acústico de gran técnica, con una destacable capacidad para tocar con velocidad y con una gran habilidad para el swing, independientemente del tempo de ejecución. Son elogiadas tanto sus interpretaciones en grupos pequeños como acompañando a cantantes, aunque sus mejores momentos sean como solista.
Aunque subestimado, Peterson es también compositor: por ejemplo, escribió y grabó la afamada "Canadian Suite" en 1964. Varias de sus propias obras las ha grabado con piano eléctrico. Excepcionalmente vocalista, su voz recuerda mucho a la de Nat King Cole.
Peterson ha sido criticado a lo largo de toda su carrera por lo que algunos entienden como una exuberancia innecesaria, tanto por lo que se refiere a la profusión de notas en sus interpretaciones como a la gran cantidad de discos grabados.
Aunque su padre era ferroviario, no le quitaba tiempo para su afición a la música, motivando al pequeño Oscar para volcarse a ella. De esta manera empezó a recibir lecciones de piano clásico a los seis años y aprendió con gran rapidez. Tras ganar un concurso para jóvenes talentos a los 14 años, empezó a trabajar en un espectáculo semanal de la radio de Montreal. Peterson tuvo sus primeras experiencias musicales serias tocando con la orquesta de Johnny Holmes. De 1945 a 1949, grabó 32 temas para Victor en Montreal. Se trata de interpretaciones en trío que muestran a un Peterson cómodo con el boogie-woogie, del que se apartaría pronto, y con el estilo próximo al swing de Teddy Wilson y Nat King Cole. Aun joven, su técnica era ya muy admirada por los aficionados y críticos.

El productor Norman Granz descubrió a Peterson en 1949 y pronto lo promocionó como una de las más relevante jóvenes promesas de su conjunto de músicos para espectáculos de jam session "Jazz at the Philarmonic" con el cual debuta a fines de ese año. Peterson grabó en 1950 una serie de dúos teniendo como compañeros en el contrabajo a Ray Brown y a Major Holley. Su version de "Tenderly" se convirtió en un éxito. Su fama se acrecentó en 1952 cuando formó un trío con el guitarrista Barney Kessel y con Brown. Kessel fue reemplazado más adelante por Herb Ellis. Este trío fue uno de los grupos de jazz más importantes entre 1953 y 1958. En 1958, cuando Ellis abandonó el grupo, se decidió prescindir de la guitarra y se unió un batería, Ed Thigpen. El trío Peterson-Brown-Thigpen (que estuvo trabajando hasta 1964), a diferencia del anterior, propició un mayor protagonismo del piano de Peterson. Otras versiones del trío contaron con baterías como Louis Hayes (1965-66), Bobby Durham (1967-70), Ray Price (1970) y con bajos como Sam Jones (1966-70) y George Mraz (1970).
En 1960, Oscar Peterson creó la Advanced School of Contemporary Music en Toronto. Peterson grabó su primer disco en solitario en 1968. Durante su estancia en el sello de Granz, trabajó con el guitarrista Joe Pass y el bajo Niels Pedersen. Apareció en docenas de grabaciones con otras estrellas, hizo cinco discos en dúo con importantes trompetistas (Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Clark Terry y Jon Faddis), y tocó con Count Basie en duelos pianísticos.
Un grave accidente cardiovascular en 1993 lo dejó fuera de combate durante dos años. Desde entonces, regresó gradualmente a escena, aunque su mano izquierda había quedado afectada.
Murió el 23 de diciembre de 2007, con 82 años en su casa de Mississauga en Ontario (Canadá).

Lena Horne

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was an American singer, actress, civil rights activist and dancer.
Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of sixteen and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, where she had small parts in numerous movies, and more substantial parts in the films Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather. Due to the Red Scare and her left-leaning political views, Horne found herself blacklisted and unable to get work in Hollywood.
Returning to her roots as a nightclub performer, Horne took part in the March on Washington in August 1963, and continued to work as a performer, both in nightclubs and on television, while releasing well-received record albums. She announced her retirement in March 1980, but the next year starred in a one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which ran for more than three hundred performances on Broadway and earned her numerous awards and accolades. She continued recording and performing sporadically into the 1990s, disappearing from the public eye in 2000.

Horne was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. Reported to be descended from the John C. Calhoun family, both sides of her family were a mixture of African American, Native American, notably, Blackfoot and European American descent and each belonged to what W. E. B. Du Bois called "The Talented Tenth", the upper stratum of middle-class, well-educated African Americans.
Her father, Edwin "Teddy" Horne (died April 18, 1970 at age 78), a numbers kingpin in the gambling trade, left the family when she was three and moved to an upper-middle-class black community in the Hill District community of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Edna Scottron, daughter of inventor Samuel R. Scottron, was an actress with a black theatre troupe and traveled extensively. Scottron's maternal grandmother, Amelie Louise Ashton, was a Senegalese slave. The young Horne was mainly raised by her grandparents, Cora Calhoun and Edwin Horne.
When Horne was five, she was sent to live in Georgia. For several years, she traveled with her mother. From 1927 to 1929 she lived with her uncle, Frank S. Horne, who was the dean of students at Fort Valley Junior Industrial Institute in Fort Valley, Georgia  and who would later become an adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From Fort Valley, southwest of Macon, Horne briefly moved to Atlanta with her mother; they returned to New York when Horne was 12 years old. She then attended Girls High School, an all-girls public high school in Brooklyn which has since become Boys and Girls High School; she dropped out without earning a diploma.
At the age of 18 she moved in with her estranged father in Pittsburgh, staying in the city's Little Harlem for almost five years and learning from native Pittsburghers Billy Strayhorn and Billy Eckstine as well as other Jazz Greats. A series of photographs by legendary African-American and Pittsburgh Courier photographer Teenie Harris are valued rare captures of her youth.

In the fall of 1933, Horne joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City. In the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade starring Adelaide Hall who took Lena under her wing. A few years later she joined Noble Sissle's Orchestra, with which she toured and with whom she recorded her first record release, a 78rpm single issued by Decca Records. After she separated from her first husband, Horne toured with bandleader Charlie Barnet in 1940–41, but disliked the travel and left the band to work at the Café Society in New York. She replaced Dinah Shore as the featured vocalist on NBC's popular jazz series The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. The show's resident maestros, Henry Levine and Paul Laval, recorded with Horne in June 1941 for RCA Victor. Horne left the show after only six months to headline a nightclub revue on the west coast; she was replaced by Linda Keene.
Horne already had two low-budget movies to her credit: a 1938 musical feature called The Duke is Tops (later reissued with Horne's name above the title as The Bronze Venus); and a 1941 two-reel short subject, Boogie Woogie Dream, featuring pianists Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons. Horne's songs from Boogie Woogie Dream were later released individually as soundies. Horne was primarily a nightclub performer during this period, and it was during a 1943 club engagement in Hollywood that talent scouts approached Horne to work in pictures. She chose Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and became the first black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio. November 1944 she was featured in an episode of the popular radio series, Suspense, as a fictional nightclub singer, with a large speaking role along with her singing. In 1945 and 1946 she sang with Billy Eckstine's Orchestra.

She made her debut with MGM in Panama Hattie (1942) and performed the title song of Stormy Weather based loosely on the life of Adelaide Hall, (1943), which she made at 20th Century Fox, on loan from MGM. She appeared in a number of MGM musicals, most notably Cabin in the Sky (also 1943), but was never featured in a leading role because of her race and the fact that films featuring her had to be re-edited for showing in states where theaters could not show films with black performers. As a result, most of Horne's film appearances were stand-alone sequences that had no bearing on the rest of the film, so editing caused no disruption to the storyline; a notable exception was the all-black musical Cabin in the Sky, although one number was cut because it was considered too suggestive by the censors. "Ain't it the Truth" was the song (and scene) cut before the release of the film Cabin in the Sky. It featured Horne singing "Ain't it the Truth", while taking a bubble bath (considered too "risqué" by the film's executives). This scene and song are featured in the film That's Entertainment! III (1994) which also featured commentary from Horne on why the scene was deleted prior to the film's release.
In Ziegfeld Follies (1946) she performed "Love" by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. Horne wanted to be considered for the role of Julie LaVerne in MGM's 1951 version of Show Boat (having already played the role when a segment of Show Boat was performed in Till the Clouds Roll By) but lost the part to Ava Gardner, a personal friend in real life, due to the Production Code's ban on interracial relationships in films. In the documentary That's Entertainment! III Horne stated that MGM executives required Gardner to practice her singing using Horne's recordings, which offended both actresses. Ultimately, Gardner's voice was overdubbed by actress Annette Warren (Smith) for the theatrical release, though her voice was heard on the soundtrack album.

By the mid-1950s, Horne was disenchanted with Hollywood and increasingly focused on her nightclub career. She only made two major appearances in MGM films during the decade, 1950's Duchess of Idaho (which was also Eleanor Powell's film swan song), and the 1956 musical Meet Me in Las Vegas. She was blacklisted during the 1950s for her political views. She returned to the screen three more times, playing chanteuse Claire Quintana in the 1969 film Death of a Gunfighter, Glinda in The Wiz (film) (1978), and co-hosting the 1994 MGM retrospective That's Entertainment! III, in which she was candid about her treatment by the studio.
After leaving Hollywood, Horne established herself as one of the premiere nightclub performers of the post-war era. She headlined at clubs and hotels throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, and the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. In 1957, a live album entitled, Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria, became the biggest selling record by a female artist in the history of the RCA-Victor label. In 1958, Horne was nominated for a Tony Award for "Best Actress in a Musical" (for her part in the "Calypso" musical Jamaica) which, at Lena's request featured her longtime friend Adelaide Hall.

From the late 1950s through the 1960s, Horne was a staple of TV variety shows, appearing multiple times on Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show, and The Bell Telephone Hour. Other programs she appeared on included The Judy Garland Show, The Hollywood Palace, and The Andy Williams Show. Besides two television specials for the BBC (later syndicated in the U.S.), Horne starred in her own U.S. television special in 1969, Monsanto Night Presents Lena Horne. During this decade, the artist Pete Hawley painted her portrait for RCA Victor, capturing the mood of her performance style.
In 1970, she co-starred with Harry Belafonte in the hour-long Harry & Lena for ABC; in 1973, she co-starred with Tony Bennett in Tony and Lena. Horne and Bennett subsequently toured the U.S. and U.K. in a show together. In the 1976 program America Salutes Richard Rodgers, she sang a lengthy medley of Rodgers songs with Peggy Lee and Vic Damone. Horne also made several appearances on The Flip Wilson Show.
Additionally, Horne played herself on television programs such as The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Sanford and Son in the 1970s, as well as a 1985 performance on The Cosby Show and a 1993-appearance on A Different World. In the summer of 1980, Horne, 63 years old and intent on retiring from show business, embarked on a two month series of benefit concerts sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta. These concerts were represented as Horne's farewell tour, yet her retirement lasted less than a year.
On April 13, 1980, Horne, Luciano Pavarotti, and host Gene Kelly were all scheduled to appear at a Gala performance at the Metropolitan Opera House to salute the N Y City Center's Joffrey Ballet Company. However, Pavarotti's plane was diverted over the Atlantic and he was unable to appear. James Nederlander was an invited Honored Guest and noted that only three people at the sold out Metropolitan Opera House asked for their money back. He asked to be introduced to Lena following her performance. In May 1981, The Nederlander Organization, Michael Frazier, and Fred Walker went on to book Horne for a four-week engagement at the newly named Nederlander Theatre (formerly the Trafalgar, the Billy Rose, and the National) on West 41st Street in New York City.

The show was an instant success and was extended to a full year run, garnering Horne a special Tony award, and two Grammy Awards for the cast recording of her show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. The 333-performance Broadway run closed on Horne's 65th birthday, June 30, 1982. Later that same week, the entire show was performed again and videotaped for television broadcast and home video release. The tour began a few days later at Tanglewood (Massachusetts) during the July 4, 1982 weekend. The Lady and Her Music toured 41 cities in the U.S. and Canada through June 17, 1984. It played in London for a month in August and ended its run in Stockholm, Sweden, September 14, 1984.
In 1981, she received a Special Tony Award for her one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which also played to acclaim at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1984.[13] Despite the show's considerable success (Horne still holds the record for the longest-running solo performance in Broadway history), she did not capitalize on the renewed interest in her career by undertaking many new musical projects. A proposed 1983 joint recording project between Horne and Frank Sinatra (to be produced by Quincy Jones) was ultimately abandoned, and her sole studio recording of the decade was 1988's The Men in My Life, featuring duets with Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joe Williams. In 1989, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 1990s found Horne considerably more active in the recording studio - all the more remarkable considering she was approaching her 80th year. Following her 1993 performance at a tribute to the musical legacy of her good friend Billy Strayhorn (Duke Ellington's longtime collaborator), she decided to record an album composed largely of Strayhorn's and Ellington's songs the following year, We'll Be Together Again. To coincide with the release of the album, Horne made what would be her final concert performances at New York's Supper Club and Carnegie Hall. That same year, Horne also lent her vocals to a recording of "Embraceable You" on Sinatra's Duets II album. Though the album was largely derided by critics, the Sinatra-Horne pairing was generally regarded as its highlight. In 1995, a 'live' album capturing her Supper Club performance was released (subsequently winning a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album). In 1998, Horne released another studio album, entitled Being Myself. Thereafter, Horne essentially retired from performing and largely retreated from public view, though she did return to the recording studio in 2000 to contribute vocal tracks on Simon Rattle's Classic Ellington album.

Horne was long involved with the Civil Rights movement. In 1941, she sang at Cafe Society and worked with Paul Robeson. During World War II, when entertaining the troops for the USO, she refused to perform "for segregated audiences or for groups in which German POWs were seated in front of African American servicemen", according to her Kennedy Center biography. Because the U.S. Army refused to allow integrated audiences, she wound up putting on a show for a mixed audience of black U.S. soldiers and white German POWs. Seeing the black soldiers had been forced to sit in the back seats, she walked off the stage to the first row where the black troops were seated and performed with the Germans behind her. She was at an NAACP rally with Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the weekend before Evers was assassinated. She also met President John F. Kennedy at the White House two days before he was assassinated. She was at the March on Washington and spoke and performed on behalf of the NAACP, SNCC, and the National Council of Negro Women. She also worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws.[15] She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Tom Lehrer mentions her in his song "National Brotherhood Week" in the line "Lena Horne and Sheriff Clark are dancing cheek to cheek" referring (wryly) to her and to Sheriff Jim Clark, of Selma, Alabama, who was responsible for a violent attack on civil rights marchers in 1965.
Horne married Louis Jordan Jones in January 1937 and lived in Pittsburgh. On December 21, 1937 they had a daughter, Gail (later known as Gail Lumet Buckley, a best-selling author) and a son, Edwin Jones, born on February 7, 1940, and died on September 12, 1970 of kidney disease). Horne and Jones separated in 1940 and divorced in 1944.
Horne's second marriage was to Lennie Hayton, one of the premier musical conductors and arrangers at MGM, in December 1947 in Paris. They separated in the early 1960s, but never divorced; he died in 1971.
In her as-told-to autobiography Lena by Richard Schickel, Horne recounts the enormous pressures she and her husband faced as an interracial couple. She later admitted in an Ebony, May 1980 interview she had married Hayton to advance her career and cross the "color-line" in show business, but had learned to love him in a way.
Screenwriter Jenny Lumet, known for her award-winning screenplay Rachel Getting Married, is Horne's granddaughter, the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet and Horne's daughter Gail. Horne's other grandchildren include Gail's other daughter, Amy Lumet, and her son's three children, Thomas, William, and Lena.

Horne died on Mothers Day, May 9, 2010, in New York City of heart failure. Horne's funeral took place at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on Park Avenue in New York City. Thousands gathered to mourn her, including singers Leontyne Price, Dionne Warwick, Jessye Norman, Chita Rivera and actresses Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Leslie Uggams, Lauren Bacall, Audra McDonald and Vanessa L. Williams.



Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (Brooklyn, 30 de junio de 1917 - 9 de mayo de 20101 ), más conocida como Lena Horne, fue una legendaria actriz y cantante afroamericana estadounidense de jazz y música popular.
Su carrera, tanto como artista de nightclub como de intérprete de discos para diversas compañías, abarca más de sesenta años, desde los años treinta a los noventa del siglo XX.
Sus padres se separaron cuando tenía dos años y fue criada por sus abuelos. Mitad afroamericana y mitad indio americano, su madre fue la hija del inventor Samuel R. Scottron y es descendiente de John Caldwell Calhoun, y su tío Frank Horne fue asesor del presidente Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Debutó como corista a los 14 años, pasando a integrar las filas del célebre Cotton Club de Harlem donde actuaban Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong y Ethel Waters que la impactó con la canción Stormy Weather. Se dio a conocer en el mundo del jazz en la segunda mitad de la década de 1930, cantando en diversas big bands, especialmente en la de Noble Sissle (1938), época en la que iniciaria su carrera cinematográfica. En 1941 se incorpora a la banda de Charlie Barnet, consiguiendo un éxito discográfico con el tema "Good for a nothing Joe",2 y después actuaría asiduamente con la banda del pianista Teddy Wilson.
Trabajó en 16 películas y varios cortos entre 1938 y 1978. Su más famosa aparición y canción distintiva fue, casualmente, en Stormy Weather de 19433 y en la película Cabin in the Sky de Vincente Minnelli junto a la ya veterana Ethel Waters y Cab Calloway.
Debió haber encarnado a Julie en Show Boat pero debido a su color el papel fue cedido a su amiga Ava Gardner, quien fue doblada en las canciones.

Su última aparición fue The Wiz como Glenda The Good Witch junto a Michael Jackson y Diana Ross.
Actuó también en Broadway, conquistando una nominación al Tony en 1957 por Jamaica. En 1980 regresó triunfalmente (a los 63 años) en su propio espectáculo Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music en 1981-1982 producido por Quincy Jones por el que obtuvo un Premio Tony.
Trabajó asiduamente en radio y televisión, en el show de Judy Garland,4 Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra y The Muppet Show.
Tiene dos estrellas en el Paseo de la Fama de Hollywood, como actriz y como cantante.5
Mereció tres premios Grammy, entre los que está el Lifetime Achievement Award en 1989.
En 1984 fue una de las artistas del año homenajeada en el Kennedy Center de Washington.
Comprometida con la lucha contra la discriminación racial, su primer trabajo en los años 30 fue en el Cotton Club de Harlem, donde podían trabajar los negros, pero no eran admitidos como clientes. En un principio su color de piel claro hizo que la llamaran la "Hedy Lamarr café con leche" o "Chocolate chanteuse", se le prohibió pernoctar en hoteles para blancos hasta 1942. En 1940 fue la primera afroamericana en hacer una gira con una orquesta de jazz blanca.
En 1942 fue la primera afroamericana en obtener un contrato permanente en la Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
En la Segunda Guerra Mundial hizo giras entreteniendo a las tropas aliadas negándose a hacerlo para audiencias segregadas.
Se casó con Louis Jones (1937-1944, con quien tuvo dos hijos, su hija es la escritora Gail Lumet Buckley que se casó con el director Sidney Lumet) y con Lennie Hayton entre 1947 y 1971, pero su boda (llevada a cabo en Francia) fue anunciada mucho después porque él era blanco y el matrimonio interracial sufrió amenazas de muerte.
Residía en el Upper West Side de New York, en el famoso edificio Apthorp.
Su última aparición fue en 1999, sufría de esclerosis múltiple.