Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Rosemary Clooney: Jazz Singer

An excerpt from a new biography

Rosemary Clooney, New York, Dec. 1956, from the collection of Paul Barouh
Billy Strayhorn, 1940s
Rosemary Clooney, 1996

More than a decade after Rosemary Clooney’s death at age 74, her legacy remains an underestimated one. Best known as Bing Crosby’s beloved in White Christmas and as the singer of a string of classic pop singles in the 1950s, Clooney offered much more-particularly to vocal-jazz buffs. An unprecedented new biography, Late Life Jazz: The Life and Career of Rosemary Clooney (Oxford), by Ken Crossland and Malcolm Macfarlane, details her public triumphs and private struggles while paying welcome attention to her overlooked relationship with jazz. (As the book’s title implies, her late-career renaissance found her toeing the line between smart cabaret pop and vocal-jazz proper, recording for a rising jazz label accompanied by top-flight jazz musicians.)

This excerpt covers historic mid-’50s recordings with Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn, the latter collaboration proving especially epochal.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published