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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Morgana King born 4 June 1930

Morgana King (born Maria Grazia Morgana Messina DeBerardini on June 4, 1930) is a jazz singer who has recorded over thirty albums to date.

King was born in Pleasantville, New York of Sicilian descent, although classically trained, King made the shift to singing jazz-inflected standards with surprising ease. Her appeal embraced both the popular audience and many jazz musicians, who hold her work in high regard. She toured extensively giving memorable
concerts in Rome, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. She was married to jazz trombonist Willie Dennis.

Morgana King recordings can be divided into several periods. It took her almost eight years to peak at whatever commercial success she was going to have with the 1964 A Taste of Honey album, in which she sung in a high, intense, floating voice, she has used this style as a future basic mannerism of her singing, thus ending the early years. 

She then was absorbed into the Atlantic and Reprise Corporation. 1965's The Winter of My Discontent is regarded as her masterpiece. Later in the 1970’s she launched the mature period of her career, though, once again recording as more of a jazz-flavored artist for Muse, a label which in itself indicates a disinterest in pop culture. The label was loyal to her, regularly recording her through the following decade. This material was reissued in the late '90s by the 32 Jazz label.

“Where most jazz voices can be likened to trumpets, saxophones or
clarinets, Morgana King has cultivated a vocal sound that most closely resembles a jazz violin. Her refined, vaporous tone is so meticulously manufactured that at times it almost seems to be emanating from a source beyond the body.” (New York Times, July 1984)

Her father had been a performer of folk and popular music on voice and guitar, and she had begun singing in nightclubs such as Basin Street in New York City when she was in her mid-twenties. Only a few years earlier, she had been immersed in classical studies at the Metropolitan School of Music. Basin Street may have been in the same city, but it must have seemed like a completely different musical world. The formal training undoubtedly filled in aspects of her musical walk where some of her peers might have had to limp. For this reason alone, some listeners find her efforts the most swinging of the '60s
generation of pop singers. It meant much critical acclaim during her career, if not great commercial success.
None of the more than 30 albums recorded by singer Morgana King since the mid-'50s have been embraced by the size of the audience that bought tickets to see the first two chapters of The Godfather film trilogy, in which King acted in the role of Mama Corleone. But it would be wrong to assume she has had more impact as an actress than as a vocalist. Her acting roles, few and far between, are chosen with care, but do not have the resonance of some of her finest recordings. Millions saw her onscreen in The Godfather films, but her performance was certainly overshadowed by performers such as Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, not to mention the famous turn by Marlon Brando as her husband. She later continued with her singing career, making occasional records which emphasized her commercial leaning.

King announced her retirement from performing during an engagement at the Cotton Club in Chicago on Friday, December 10, 1993, and added that her recording would not be affected by the decision.[88] She continued to perform after that date at the Ballroom,[89] Maxim's,[90] Mirage Night Club (a benefit jazz session),[91] and Roosevelt Hotel's Cinegrill. Her last film appearance was in the film A Brooklyn State of Mind (1987), she has also appeared in several television productions.
(Info various, edited mainly from AMG)

Here's Morgana on The Hollywood Palace show in October 1964 singing Corcovado. The host is Donald O'Connor.


boppinbob said...

For Morgana Kings 1965 album, A Taste Of Honey go here:

Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
Bitrate: Lossless

01. A Taste of Honey (5:16)
02. Fascinating Rhythm (2:37)
03. Prelude to a Kiss (3:43)
04. Easy Living (3:39)
05. All Blues (3:42)
06. Bluesette (2:45)
07. Easy to Love (2:43)
08. The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (3:05)
09. The Lady Is a Tramp (2:20)
10. Try to Remember (2:40)
11. Meditation (3:51)
12. I’ll Follow You (4:42)
13. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child (3:22)

tony said...

Wonderful performer/singer! Thank you for allowing others to experience her unique singing style with the original 1965 album! Never get tired of listening to her. I remember dj Bill Randall in Cleveland praising her on the radio and introducing "Taste of Honey." This album was re-released later as two albums Taste of Honey and Cuore di Mama) with added tracks on Mainstream (MRL321 and MRL355. I treasure all her albums. Tony