Some Sunday Love: Hazel Scott with a Medley of Gershwin and “Taking a Chance on Love”

I saw this at the website Songbook. You gotta go there.

Hazel Scott looking lush at 19, when she was first discovered by Barney Josephson  (Courtesy: Songbook)

Scott was a child prodigy who graduated from Julliard, headlined at Barney Josephson’s Café Society from the age of 19 and was later one of the wives of flamboyant Congressman Adam Clayton Powell.  She was the first woman of color to have her own TV show on the Dumont Network.  Her rise was all against stereotype.

Hazel Scott’s career took a nose dive, though, when she was summoned before HUAC in the Fifties and was subsequently blacklisted.  She continued her career in Europe, notably in France, but from some accounts it was not an easy life as an expatriate.  She divorced Powell in 1960, but not before producing their son, Adam III.

However, she was able to pick up her life as an entertainer by the late Sixties.  I saw her on one of the daytime TV shows, The Mike Douglas Show, showing off her skills before a comeback concert.  She had lost none of those skills during her silencing, nor her beauty, nor her activism against racial segregation.  Scott died young, in my humble opinion, at the age of 61 in 1981.  But not before giving us these wonderful slices of her life in interpreting The Great American Songbook.

~ by blksista on July 22, 2012.

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