Sunday, 1 December 2019

Lurlean Hunter born 1 December 1928

Lurlean Hunter (December 1, 1919 - March 11, 1983) was with all her skills, one of the most underappreciated singers in America. Other singers, who held her in universal high regard, were in no doubt as to her quality. A singers singer, she was revered for her near perfection in vocal styling, technique, and delivery, gifts she blended into a captivating combination.

Lurlean Hunter's family came to Chicago in 1920 with the migration of African American families. There she attended Englewood High School and had first appearances in 1938 with Johnny Long's swing band in South Bend (Indiana) . After her graduation in early 1939, she appeared in 1941 with the band of Les Hite in the Parkway Ballroom and  through radio broadcasts of the concerts she received nationwide attention. In 1944 she was spotted by Red Saunders who brought her to Club DeLisa on Chicago’s south side, where Marion "Blues Woman" Abernathy and Little Miss Cornshucks sang. Through her appearances at Club DeLisa, she became well known in the Chicago area. In 1945 she had guest appearances in the nightclub Stairway to the Stars (422 1/2 East 47th), where she was accompanied by the Floyd Campbell Orchestra.

After returning to the night club DeLisa she sang in the Fletcher Henderson Band (1946/1947), then again with Red Saunders. In early 1948, Hunter moved to the Club Ritz Lounge and then to the Beige Room at the Pershing Hotel. She also appeared in Detroit. In 1951 the first recordings were made for the short-lived little label Seymour ("I Had not Anyone 'till You" and "My Home Town Chicago"). These recordings later appeared on Discovery Records. The success of the song "My Home Town Chicago" gave Hunter regular appearances in the nightclubs on the North Side of Chicago, such as Rossi's Apex Club (429 North Clark) in late 1950 with the John Young Trio, who also participated in her next recording ("I Get a Warm Feeling").

In 1951 she recorded two more singles for the small label Major Records, "Imagination" and the standard "If I Should Lose You". Also during that same year Hunter was a featured performer with George Shearing and his quintet at Birdland in New York City after which she was among a group of "rising young stars of jazz" presented at the Streamliner night club in Chicago. Other Chicago venues at which she performed included the Club Silhouette and the Cloister Inn, where an initial four-week booking turned into a 2.5-year stay Her work in other cities included singing at the Jazz Villa in St. Louis, the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, and the Circus Lounge in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

On December 7, 1952, Hunter married Charles Taylor, a shoe salesman just before her big break when in 1953 she signed a record deal with RCA Victor. For the major label, she recorded three albums, Lonesome Gal (1955), Night Life (1956) and Stepping Out (1958), all of which originated in New York City ( Lonesome Gal under the production management of Quincy Jones ). As a result of the RCA albums, she gained national recognition and also appeared on television and in larger clubs. In 1960 she recorded the album “Blue and Sentimental” for Atlantic Records. Her recordings were more about rhythm & blues and pop than jazz, yet were done in an era when such sessions often involved fine mainstream jazz players in the accompaniment.


In 1958, Hunter sued RCA Record Division after it used her image and her name on the cover of its "Lonesome Gal" record album. The suit in United States District Court, Southern District of California, alleged "unfair competition, infringement of trade name, 
unfair business practices, unjust enrichment and invasion of the right of privacy." The court acknowledged that the album contained the song "Lonesome Gal", and that the use of one song's title for an album's title was common practice in the recording industry. However, it ruled in Hunter's favour on the basis that she was the first person to "adopt and establish the name Lonesome Gal as a personality" and that name was exclusively associated with her. Damages of $22,500 were awarded to Hunter, and the company was ordered to destroy all material containing Hunter's likeness in conjunction with "Lonesome Gal"

L-R: Johnny Frigo, singer Lurlean Hunter and saxophonist, Johnny Griffin (saxophone) on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Chicago Avenue
In 1963, Hunter became the first African-American performer hired by WBBM radio in Chicago. After a successful on-air audition, she became a member of the staff of the all-live Music Wagon Show. On August 2, 1968, National Educational Television jazz broadcast featured Hunter, accompanied by the Vernel Fournier Trio, performing "ballads and blues, old and new". 

She was also involved with jingles and commercials for products including peas and telephone directories. Her last recordings were recorded in 1964 for the Smash label, mostly pop-oriented material. From 1966 to 1971 she directed the South Side Jazz Club.

In 1972 she left the music business to marry her manager Greg Tischler and live as a housewife. She died tragically 11 March 1983 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Details of her death are murky. Some report of her being murdered by an ex mobster boyfriend, but that and many other versions have not been completely confirmed.  (Edited mainly from Wikipedia)


boppinbob said...

For “Lurean Hunter- Four Classic Albums
(Night Life / Blue & Sentimental / Lonesome Gal / Stepping Out)”
Go here:

1. Georgia on my mind
2. What a difference a day made
3. Have you met Miss Jones
4. That old feeling
5. It's the talk of the town
6. Gentleman friend
7. Night life
8. It could happen to you
9. Moondrift
10. Sunday
11. Like someone in love
12. This time the dream's on me
13. Blue turning grey over you
14. If you could see me now
15. My kinda love
16. Crazy he calls me
17. Just imagine
18. Blue & sentimental
19. The song is you
20. The I'll be tired of you
21. Fool that I am
22. We'll be together again
23. As long as I live
24. Lonesome gal
25. Alone together
26. It's you or no one
27. You don't know what love is
28. You make me feel so young
29. My heart and I decided
30. It never entered my mind
31. You'd be so nice to come home to
32. Brief encounter
33. A stranger in town
34. But not for me
35. On Green Dolphin Street
36. Steppin' out with my baby
37. Easy to love
38. I feel so smoochie
39. Kiss me again
40. Old devil moon
41. If I could be with you
42. Blues in the night
43. Nobody's heart
44. You do something to me
45. Under a blanket of blue
46. Oh! Look at me now
47. Some other time

A big thank you to Jake for original link.

Here are the four albums she recorded during her career: Lonesome Gal (1955), Night Life (1956), Stepping Out (1957), and Blue and Sentimental (1960). On them she is accompanied by orchestras filled by some of the best New York jazz musicians. The skilful writing was provided by a handful of top arrangers, including Quincy Jones, Marion Evans, Manny Albam, Al Cohn, Ernie Wilkins, Phil Moore, and Jimmy Giuffre.


Original sources:
Tracks #1-12 from the RCA Victor 12" LP "Lonesome Gal" (LPM 1151)
Tracks #13-23 from the VIK 12" LP "Night Life" (LX 1061)
Tracks # 24 - 35 from the VIK 12" LP "Stepping Out" (LX 1116)
Tracks #36 - 47 from the Atlantic 12" LP "Blue And Sentimental" (SD 1344)

Personnel on "Lonesome Gal":
Lurlean Hunter with Al Nevins and His Orchestra.
Featuring: Ernie Royal (tp), Urbie Green (tb), Jimmy Buffington (frh), Hal McKusick, Frank Wess, Charlie Fowlkes (reeds), Hank Jones (p), Barry Galbraith (g), Osie Johnson, Phil Kraus (d), among others; plus strings with Harry Lookofsky, concertmaster.
Arrangements: Quincy Jones and Marion Evans
Recorded in New York City, October 4, 5 & 7, 1955

Personnel on "Night Life":
Lurlean Hunter with Manny Albam and His Orchestra.
Featuring: Joe Newman (tp), Al Cohn, Al Epstein, Ray Beckenstein (reeds), Hank Jones (p), Marty Wilson (vib), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton (b), Osie Johnson (d). Arrangements: Al Cohn (#13,14,15 & 23), Ernie Wilkins (#16,18,21 & 22) and Manny Albam (#17,19,20 & 24)
Recorded in New York City, August 27 & 28, 1956

Personnel on "Stepping Out":
Lurlean Hunter with Phil Moore and His Orchestra.
Featuring: Nick Travis (tp), Herbie Mann (fl), Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton (b), Osie Johnson (d). Arrangements: Phil Moore
Recorded in New York City, May 6, 8 and 10, 1957

Personnel on "Blue And Sentimental":
Lurlean Hunter with Jimmy Giuffre and His Orchestra.
Featuring: Harry Sweets Edison (tp), Rudy Rutherford (cl), Bud Freeman (ts), Jimmy Jones (p), Jim Hall (g), George Duvivier (b on #13, 14, 16, 18 & 23), Trigger Alpert (b on #15,17,19,20,21 & 22), Don Lamond (d). Arrangements: Jimmy Giuffre
Recorded in New York City, August 12 (#13,14,16,18 & 23) and 23 (#15,17,19,20,21 & 22), 1960

Recordings produced by Jack Lewis (#1 -23), Herman Díaz, Jr. and Jerry Wexler (#24 - 47).

IL for DownBeat magazine.

Guitarradeplastico,scraping oddities said...


T.G. said...

Link is dead too! Can you repost please? Thanks for all!

boppinbob said...

Link OK Try again!

T.G. said...

Got it, thank you for both and for all every time!

Jacdaw said...

Easy to listen to singer. Thank you.

pemey said...

What wonderful music! Thanks a lot!!!

styles said...

Very fine exceptional site.

Unknown said...

This is my grandmother...wish I knew more about her