[JPL] Nellie Lutcher, 94, Jazz great of the 1940s and '50s dies

Tom Reney tr at wfcr.org
Sat Jun 9 11:09:59 EDT 2007




> http://www.americanpress.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1212&Itemid=105
>
> Lake Charles-born Nellie Lutcher, a stylish jazz vocalist and pianist
> who was a top-selling recording artist in the 1940s and '50s, died
> Friday in Los Angeles. She was 94.
>
> Lutcher's hits included "Hurry on Down," "He's a Real Gone Guy" and
> "Fine Brown Frame." She sang a duet with Nat King Cole, "Can I Come in
> for a Second."
>
> Lutcher also had a novelty song she wrote about her hometown. It was
> "Lake Charles Boogie," and the lyrics included: "This little ditty /
> is a song about the city / where I was born."
>
> She performed well into her 70s.
>
> "My mom was a fighter," her son, Talmidge Lewis of Concord, Calif.,
> told the American Press. "The things she believed in most were loyalty
> and family."
>
> Local rediscovery
>
> Lutcher's death comes at the same time her hometown had already begun
> a series of events saluting her life in music.
>
> The Imperial Calcasieu Museum, in conjunction with the American Press
> and others, has been organizing exhibits and tribute to Lutcher for
> this fall - timed to coincide with what would have been Lutcher's 95th
> birthday.
>
> Last month, rising artists Wendy Colonna, Eleisha Eagle and Breanna
> Fye appeared in a joint concert to raise money for the exhibit.
>
> Family tributes
>
> American Press Staff Writer Eric Cormier, who arrived in Los Angeles
> the day before her death in order to interview her, was with a Lutcher
> family member Friday when the news came by telephone.
>
> "My Aunt Nellie just died," jazz musician Daryl Jackson Munyungo, her
> nephew, told the American Press after hanging up.
>
> He got the call from another Lutcher nephew, Gene Jackson, who had
> been managing the ailing jazz great's affairs.
>
> Lutcher had been in failing health, battling pneumonia and other
> ailments before entering hospice care.
>
> "She was a fighter to the end," Jackson said. "She had told the
> family, 'I'm going to go when I'm ready to go.'"
>
> Of her renewed local recognition in Lake Charles - events which now
> double as tributes, he said, "We are very happy that Lake Charles is
> going to recognize her. This is an opportunity for all her fans, young
> and old, to honor her."
>
> Lutcher's life
>
> Nellie Lutcher was the oldest child of Isaac "Skinner" Lutcher, a bass
> player who worked for a packing company on the lakefront, and Susie
> Lutcher, who lost five of her 15 children to death during infancy.
>
> At age 8, she was as assistant pianist at New Sunlight Baptist Church
> in Lake Charles under pastor was M.T. Jackson.
>
> Lutcher attended Second Ward School and performed in the school
> orchestra. As a teenager, she played the piano briefly with the
> Imperial Orchestra, then the Southern Rhythm Boys, a local group of
> musicians from Texas and Louisiana.
>
> At 11, she played piano for blues singer Ma Rainey.
>
> In 1935, Lutcher moved to Los Angeles. She played piano with small
> groups.
>
> She signed with Capitol Records in 1947. over the next several years,
> her songs ranked on the pop, jazz and R&B charts.
>
> She also recorded with the Decca, Epic and Liberty labels.
>
> In 1952, she was honored on Ralph Edwards' NBC-TV show "This Is Your
> Life."
>
> Lutcher was only African American woman to serve on the board of
> directors of the Los Angeles Musicians Union. She had been a member
> since 1947.
>
> By BRETT DOWNER
> AMERICAN PRESS
>
>
> 



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