Bessie Smith

 

 

Jazz historian Will Friedwald has rightly noted that Bessie Smith is “the one classic blues artist to outlive the genre, the one artist whose work justifies the entire style.”  A major hitmaker in her time – and, in fact, probably the best-paid and most celebrated African-American entertainer of her era – Smith has managed to retain her resonance long after her untimely death in 1937. Some of her staying power may have had something to do with her public image as a big, two-fisted, moonshine-drinking, free-loving blues mama, and, if her biographer Chris... Read More

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