On May 9, 2010, Lena Mary Calhoun Horne, professionally known as Lena Horne, passed away. A talented actress, engaged social activist, and sublime vocalist, Lena Horne was one of the first female jazz vocalists that I fell in love with.
I got introduced to Jazz music in middle school at the same time I delved into musical theater. There was a musical called “Show Boat” (a heavy musical that dealt with integration and interracial romance) that I was researching at the local library, and I remember finding a version of my favorite song from the musical on a jazz sampler. The song was “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” and it was performed by Lena Horne. There is a lot of history and trivia out there, and rather than write it all out here, I suggest you click on this IMBD link to read more.
Heaven. Her voice was expressed so much emotion and expression that my heart melted, and she’s been a constant staple of my jazz collection and playlist rotation ever since.
Today, I remember a voice that I fell in love with. With her passing back in 2010, a little bit of my heart broke. A classic beauty, sublime talent and divine individual doesn’t come around that often. I’m just glad a bit of her soul is still with us in recordings and video. Below are some of my favorite Lena Horne performances.
R.I.P., Lena. My “Lady” of jazz.