Joya Sherrill, the singer who died in late June at the age of 85, joined Duke Ellington and his Orchestra in 1942 following her high school graduation. One of her features through the mid-forties was the Billy Strayhorn-Rex Stewart collaboration Kissing Bug." The song received a good deal of radio air play and in its V-disc version became a favorite of the troops as World War Two wound down. Here is the V-disc performance, followed by a brief take on Ellington's Carnegie Blues." Ben Webster's successor in the band, Al Sears, is the tenor saxophone soloist.
Ms. Sherrill worked off and on with Ellington for most of her performing life. She was with the Benny Goodman band that toured the Soviet Union in 1962. In the 1970s, she hosted the childrens program Time For Joya on one of my alma maters, WPIX-TV in New York City.
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