Thursday, December 29, 2005

"Va Va Voom" Star of the Day

Helen Forrest
One of the more popular big band singers of the era, Helen Forrest is a performer that some might not consider a jazz vocalist, but she has the exceptional ability to project lyrics. Forrest used several names early in her career, among them The Blue Lady and Bonnie Blue. She began singing in her brother's band in Washington, D.C., then performed with Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Nat King Cole's trio, and Lionel Hampton.

In 1940 she then began to score hits working with the Harry James Orchestra. During the early '40s, she had a string of successes. Later she teamed with Dick Haymes on his radio show and on six duets that were big hits. Forrest cut back her activity in the '50s, then sang with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra led by Sam Donahue in the early '60s. She continued to work on the club circuit in the '70s and '80s, making a new album for Stash in 1983.

I discovered her while watching the Esther Williams/Red Skelton flick "Bathing Beauty," where she is featured singing with Harry James and his Orchestra. Her voice and style is soothing and definitely gives the reminiscence of old time Americana.  Here's the scene (notice both Esther Williams and Helen Forrest gorgeous gowns!).

More info on her career can be found here.

No comments: