Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Teddi King born 18 September 1929
Teddi King (September 18, 1929 - November 18, 1977) was an American jazz and pop vocalist.
Born Theodora King in Boston, Massachusetts on September 18, 1929, she won a singing competition hosted by Dinah Shore at Boston's Tributary Theatre, later beginning work in a touring revue involved with "cheering up the military in the lull between the Second World War and the Korean conflict." According to accounts, the vocalist was studious in this period, working on both classical singing technique and jazz piano playing.
Ultimately signing with RCA, she recorded three albums for the label, beginning with 1956's Bidin' My Time. She also had some minor chart success with the singles "Mr. Wonderful" (which made the Top 20 in 1956), "Married I Can Always Get" and "Say It Isn't So" (both of which made the Hot 100 from 1957-1958).
Her critically praised 1959 album All the Kings' Songs found her interpreting the signature songs of contemporary male singers like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole (the "kings" of the title).
Between 1962 and 1970, Teddi disappeared from the public consciousness. It was not that she stopped singing. Actually she was working all the time and making a great deal of money. She signed an exclusive contract with Playboy Clubs. According to my sources, it was such an exclusive agreement that she could not appear on television, nor any concerts or nightclubs, nor could she record for anyone. It was strictly at Playboy Clubs only. A rumor has it that they were planning to release some Teddi King recordings on the Playboy label. They actually recorded a considerable amount of her "live" performances, but nothing materialized. Some believe that it killed her career completely. That might have been true in a sense, but she was happy traveling far and wide, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.
In 1970, Teddi began to make New York club appearances again, but she became ill and was diagnosed with Lupus. She had to slow down considerably from that point. She, however, managed to do some impressive work, especially her "Mildred Bailey Tribute" program at Hotel Carlyle in 1975. She sounded like her old self there.
In November 1977 Teddi flew down to do a concert in North Carolina. After her concert, a fan got so exited that he could not restrain himself from giving Teddi a kiss. He had active meningitis and that was enough to make her violently ill because of her compromised immune system due to Lupus. She could barely return to New York and died two days later. She was only 48 years old.
As New Yorker critic Whitney Balliett later described her—after Teddi had become a national presence in jazz—"She was barely five feet tall, but her voice was large and relaxed. . . . She had a rich contralto and a wide vibrato, and a peaceful, spacious way of phrasing. She never hurried a note, even at fast tempos, and she gave each song a serenity that carried it though the noisiest room."
For those who never had a chance to hear Teddi King, there is In the Beginning: 1949-1954, a Teddi King compilation produced by Ted Ono, who devotes his Baldwin Street Music label in Toronto exclusively to singers he cherishes. The collection is in record stores, and on his Web site (www.baldwinstreetmusic.com). Among her colleagues on the recordings were Nat Pierce, George Shearing, Dick Hyman, Milt Hinton, and Don Lamond.
In his notes, Ted Ono points out that although in her brief career Teddi "had one Top 40 hit, 'Mr. Wonderful,' and subsequent offers to play major theaters and hotels, she felt uncomfortable with [her later] status as a pop singer. She preferred playing jazz dates but jazz programs on radio and television completely ignored her."
(info edited from Wikipedia & www.villagevoice.com & bonjourqui.blogspot.)