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BESSIE SMITH “EMPRESS OF THE BLUES”
Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer. Nicknamed the Empress of the Blues, she was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and was a major influence on other jazz singers
Ma Bessie (Julia Titus) and her blues troupe – internationally acclaimed drummer, Sam Kelly with Paul Jobson (Musical Director) on piano, Tony Qunta on acoustic guitar, Richard Sadler on upright bass, Chuck Lloyd on sax/clarinet and Kevin Davy on trumpet – perform to a narrated show, featuring music from the era and showcasing many of Bessie‘s songs. The production chronicles her life from a one-room shack in Blue Goose Hollow, through to becoming the highest-paid black entertainer of that time, to the tragic accident on Route 61 in September 1937 which resulted in her untimely death aged 43 years.
Photo credit: Dawn Fletcher-Park