Georgia Lee (singer)

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Georgia Lee (1921 - 23 April 2010) was a jazz and blues singer from Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Early life[edit]

Born as Dulcie Rama Pitt, her father was of Jamaican descent and her mother was Indian, Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Scottish, and grew up in a very musical family.[1]

Career[edit]

With her sisters Sophie and Heather Pitt, she formed the Harmony Sisters and performed as part of the U.S. Service Office Show, touring Queensland to entertain US troops during World War II.[2]

After the war she took the name Georgia Lee and moved south to work in the cities and later in the United Kingdom.[3] She performed and recorded with many artists and bands including Graeme Bell, Geraldo, Bruce Clarke, Port Jackson Jazz Band, George Trevare and the Max Williams Quintet.[1] She toured with Nat King Cole on Cole's 1957 Australian tour.[4][3]

In 1961, she acted in the television play Burst of Summer for the ABC, adapted from Oriel Gray's stage play. She also performed on TV on Graham Kennedy's In Melbourne Tonight[1] and Bandstand.[5]

Lee is credited with being the first Indigenous Australian artist to record blues songs.[6] Her 1962 album Georgia Lee Sings the Blues Down Under may have been only the second album to be released by an Australian woman[1] and was the first Australian album recorded in stereo. Arranged by Brian Martin, the album features Raphael Melevende on trumpet, Jack Glenn on trombone, Alec Hutchison on clarinet and tenor sax, Ron Rosenberg on piano, John Frederick on bass, Horrie Weems on guitar and Alan Turnbull playing drums. In 2009 it was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry.[5]

Death[edit]

Lee died on 23 April 2010, aged 89, in a Cairns nursing home.[7] Her niece, Wilma Reading, is a singer in her own right.[1]

Discography[edit]

  • Georgia Lee Sings the Blues Down Under (1962) Crest
  • "It's A Lovely Day Tomorrow" (1961) Rex
  • "Graeme Bell Jazz Concert: Eps 1 and 5" (1949)
  • "Graeme Bell Jazz Concert: Eps 10 and 14" (1949)
  • "Graeme Bell Jazz Concert: Eps 19 and 23" (1949)
  • Bruce Clarke Quintones - "St Louis Blues" (1951) Jazzart
  • Bruce Clarke Quintones - "Blue Moon" (1951) Jazzart

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Walker, Clinton (2000). "Last of the Red Hot Mammas". Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music. Pluto Press. pp. 50–67. ISBN 1-86403-152-2. 
  2. ^ Shnukal, Anna (2001). "Torres Strait Islanders". Multilcutlural Queensland 2001: 100 years, 100 communities, A century of contributions (PDF). The State of Queensland (Department of Premier and Cabinet). 
  3. ^ a b Courier Mail Northern stars
  4. ^ Jackson, Andra. "Georgia Lee's remarkable journey as a jazz singer". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  5. ^ a b National Film and Sound Archive Sounds of Australia registry Archived May 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ The Age No slippin' away after ARIAs for Max Merritt
  7. ^ Jackson, Andra: Jazz singer Georgia Lee dies, The Age, 27 April 2010.

External links[edit]