R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

Classically Blue


Juanita Hall was already a Broadway veteran when Rodgers and Hammerstein tapped her to play the iconic role of Bloody Mary in South Pacific, later casting her as Auntie Liang in Flower Drum Song. In 1957, she recorded Juanita Hall Sings The Blues, an early concept album dedicated to Bessie Smith.

Classically trained at Juilliard, Hall was an indefatigable multitasker, racing to appearances in Manhattan cabarets as soon as the curtain dropped on her nightly Broadway show. Although she had the chops to sing and act her way to a Tony award for South Pacific, her heart lay in the classic blues tradition of Smith, Ethel Waters and Ma Rainey.

Long out of print, Juanita Hall Sings The Blues is now available in ConcordMusicGroup.com's Digital Only section. Top jazz musicians back her on this set, which feature legends Coleman Hawkins and Doc Cheatham. Cheatham's mournful trumpet surrounds Hall's dark-honey tone on "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out," "Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer" and "Gulf Coast Blues." Hawkins, always the master in any format, weaves his fat tenor sound around collective improv that pays homage to the New Orleans tradition of Smith's era.