Friday, November 04, 2011

Beryl Davis, 1924-2011

When the German air force began its blitz in 1940, Ms. Davis’s clear, pure singing style at the front of a jazz group that included the pianist George Shearing and the violinist Stéphane Grappelli, was already familiar to BBC listeners, and to London clubgoers.

She later said leaving the city had never occurred to her. “We just learned to handle the pressure,” she told Richard Grudens for “Jukebox Saturday Night,” his 1999 book about the big-band era. “I would have to be down at the BBC, who had me under contract, at odd hours of the night. Bombs would be dropping, and you just did your best to dodge them.”

She added, “If you didn’t dodge them, well, that was that, you know.”

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