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Cleo Laine

With a multi-octave voice similar to Betty Carter's, incredible scatting ability, and ease of transition from a throaty whisper to high-pitched trills, Cleo Laine was born in 1927 in the Southall section of London, the daughter of a Jamaican father and English mother. Her parents sent her to vocal and dance lessons as a teenager, but she was 25 when she first sang professionally, after a successful audition with the big band led by Johnny Dankworth. Both Laine and the band recorded for Esquire, MGM and Pye during the late '50s, and by 1958, she was married to Dankworth.

With Dankworth by her side, Laine began her solo career in earnest with a 1964 album of Shakespeare lyrics set to Dankworth's arrangements, Shakespeare: And All That Jazz. Laine also gained renown for the first of three concert albums recorded at New York's Carnegie Hall, 1973's Cleo Laine Live! At Carnegie Hall. She also recorded two follow-ups (Return to Carnegie and The 10th Anniversary Concert) the latter of which in 1983 won her the first Grammy award by a Briton. She has proved a rugged stage actress as well, winning a Theater World award for her role in the Broadway musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, (in addition to Tony and Drama Desk nominations as well). In 1976 she recorded a jazz version of Porgy and Bess with Ray Charles, and also recorded duets with James Galway and guitarist John Williams. Laine and Dankworth continued to tour into the 1990s, and she received perhaps her greatest honor when she became the first jazz artist to receive the highest title available in the performing arts: Dame Commander. ~ John Bush, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Fabulous!
As a child everyone in my family seemed to have great taste in music and my Mom had a really sweet voice, Cleo Lane was one of the artists that seemed to get a special appreciation for her musical interpretati o n s and everything I've ever heard seems just perfect.
rah1264
I saw Cleo Laine in Oklahoma City in 1974, and got to shake hands with her at a reception following the concert. Needless to say, I was totally tongue-tied. She is a jewel, and thankfully does not sound like everyone else. Her voice never ceases to amaze me.
I discovered Cleo Laine on PBS in the mid seventies. I was enchanted. Bought the records, bought the tapes, and the CD's. And didn't I get to see her in lil ole South Carolina third row seats when no one knew just what a jewel came to town. I continue to be enchanted.
cwspurgeon
In her mid 80s, Dame Cleo continues to inspire and send her listeners into musical imagination and wonder. I saw her this summer, 2012, in concert in London (Fairfield Hall, Croydon), and for many days I was floating in happy inspiration: despite Sir John Dankworth's death, Cleo still has her wonderful talent and gives life to every song she sings. I have been one of her devoted fans for 35 years, and like Queen Elizabeth II, Cleo gives meaning, continuity and stability, to my love of music,
Her concert with James Galway at Chautauqua was amazing! We'll never forget it. Especially SOMETIMES WHEN WE TOUCH.
I came to know Cleo through my Grandmother! I have loved her voice for a long time. I really appreciate her various styles. What a neat singer! - Heather Williams
my absolute favorite female vocalist. this inludes all styles .genres
In Burlington VT in 1974, the public radio station was doing an interview with a throaty-voic e d woman and she performed a couple of songs. I had to find out who she was! Turns out she and Dankworth were performing in Burlington that night, I went, and have been an awestruck fan ever since. 'Dame Cleo' is a one and only.
iamnaturesch i l d
Her range is as broad as her versatility. A one of a kind, second to none!
bmcfee_01
I discovered her by the 1970s movie The Servent in which she sang the titled track "All Gone" which they played repeatedly throughout and I re-wound repeatedly.. L o v e d it!
salmonetc
Cleo, Cleo -- there are no other singers like you.
I discovered her on Johnny Carson in the 80's, and just couldn't get enough, I love her music, all of it!
Just a goddess and one of the sweetest ladies I've ever met.

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