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Etta Jones and Houston Person, 1980
November 25, 1928|
Aiken, South Carolina, U.S.
|Died||October 16, 2001
Mount Vernon, New York
|Genres||Jazz, pop, R&B|
|Labels||Prestige, Muse, HighNote|
|Associated acts||Houston Person, Buddy Johnson, Leonard Feather, Dandridge Sisters|
Etta Jones (November 25, 1928 – October 16, 2001) was an American jazz singer. Her best-known recordings were "Don't Go to Strangers" and "Save Your Love for Me". She worked with Buddy Johnson, Oliver Nelson, Earl Hines, Barney Bigard, Kenny Burrell, Milt Jackson, Cedar Walton, and Houston Person.
Jones was born in Aiken, South Carolina, United States, and raised in Harlem, New York. Still in her teens, she joined Buddy Johnson's band for a nationwide tour although she was not featured on record. Her first recordings—"Salty Papa Blues", "Evil Gal Blues", "Blow Top Blues", and "Long, Long Journey"—were produced by Leonard Feather in 1944, placing her in the company of clarinetist Barney Bigard and tenor saxophonist Georgie Auld. In 1947, she recorded and released an early cover version of Leon Rene's "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" (previously released by the Basin Street Boys on Rene's Exclusive label) while at RCA Victor Records. She performed with the Earl Hines sextet from 1949 to 1952.
She had three Grammy nominations, for the Don't Go To Strangers album in 1960, the Save Your Love For Me album in 1981, and My Buddy (dedicated to her first employer, Buddy Johnson) in 1998. In 2008 the album Don't Go to Strangers was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Following her recordings for Prestige, on which Jones was featured with high-profile arrangers such as Oliver Nelson and jazz stars such as Frank Wess, Roy Haynes, and Gene Ammons, she had a musical partnership of more than thirty years with tenor saxophonist Houston Person, who received equal billing with her. He also produced her albums and served as her manager, after the pair met in one of Johnny "Hammond" Smith's bands.
Although Etta Jones is likely to be remembered above all for her recordings on Prestige, her close professional relationship with Person (frequently, but mistakenly, identified as Jones' husband) helped ensure that the last two decades of her life would be marked by uncommon productivity, as evidenced by a string of albums for Muse Records. In 1996 she recorded The Melody Lingers On, the first of five sessions for the HighNote label.
Her last recording, a tribute to Billie Holiday, was released 57 years later on the day of Jones' death. Only one of her recordings—her debut album for Prestige Records (Don't Go to Strangers, 1960)—enjoyed commercial success with sales of over a million copies. Her remaining seven albums for Prestige and, beginning in 1976, her twelve recordings for Muse Records, and seven recordings for HighNote Records secured her a devoted following.
- The Chronological Etta Jones 1944–1947 (Classics 1065, 1999) – note: includes Etta's early recordings for Black & White, Chicago, National, and RCA Victor.
- The Jones Girl... Etta... Sings, Sings, Sings (King 554, 1957; reissued as Etta Sings, King 707, 1960)
- Don't Go to Strangers (Prestige 7186, 1960)
- Something Nice (Prestige 7194, 1960–61; reissued as Love Is The Thing, Prestige 7784, 1970)
- So Warm: Etta Jones and Strings (Prestige 7204, 1961)
- From the Heart (Prestige 7214, 1962)
- Lonely and Blue (Prestige 7241, 1962)
- Love Shout (Prestige 7272, 1962–63)
- Soul Summit Vol. 2 (Prestige 7275, 1961–62 [rel. 1963]) – with Gene Ammons, Jack McDuff
- Hollar! (Prestige 7284, 1960-62 [rel. 1963])
- Jonah Jones Swings, Etta Jones Sings (Crown 5422, 1964) – with Earl "Fatha" Hines
- Etta Jones Sings (Roulette 25329, 1965) – with Junior Mance, Kenny Burrell
- Greatest Hits [compilation] (Prestige 7443, 1965)
- Etta Jones '75 (Westbound/20th Century 203, 1975) – with Houston Person
- Ms. Jones to You (Muse 5099, 1976)
- My Mother's Eyes (Muse 5145, 1977)
- If You Could See Me Now (Muse 5175, 1978)
- Save Your Love for Me (Muse 5214, 1980)
- Love Me with All Your Heart (Muse 5262, 1984)
- Fine and Mellow (Muse 5333, 1986)
- I'll Be Seeing You (Muse 5351, 1987)
- Sugar (Muse 5379, 1989)
- Christmas with Etta Jones (Muse 5411, 1990)
- Reverse the Charges (Muse 5474, 1992)
- My Gentleman Friend (Muse 5534, 1994 [rel. 1996]) – with Benny Green
- At Last (Muse 5511, 1995)
- The Melody Lingers On (HighNote 7005, 1996)
- My Buddy: Etta Jones Sings The Songs of Buddy Johnson (HighNote 7026, 1997)
- Doin' What She Does Best [compilation of Muse material] (32 Jazz 32074, 1998)
- All The Way (HighNote 7047, 1999)
- Easy Living (HighNote 7059, 2000)
- Etta Jones Sings Lady Day (HighNote 7078, 2001)
- The Best of Etta Jones: The Prestige Singles [compilation] (Prestige 11021, 2002)
- Always In Our Hearts: Etta Jones As We Loved Her [compilation] (HighNote 7124, 2004)
- A Night In Roppongi (Live In Japan) (Absord [Japan] 338, 2004) – with Houston Person
- Don't Misunderstand: Live In New York (HighNote 7173, 1980 [rel. 2007] – with Houston Person
- The Way We Were: Live In Concert (HighNote 7197, 2000 [rel. 2011]) – with Houston Person
- "Biography by Scott Yanow". Allmusic.com. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed September 2011
- Jones, Etta, "1944-1947" Classics (France) CD
- Dahl, Linda, Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen, Limelight Editions, 1989, p. 291.
- 2008 Grammy Hall of Fame List Archived June 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.