[Dixielandjazz] Second Line Memorial for the Boswell Sisters this Saturday
dwinograd at hvc.rr.com
Tue Jul 1 05:28:57 PDT 2008
*MEDIA RELEASE* **
Second Line Memorial for The Boswell Sisters
Date: Saturday, July 5^th , 2008, 11:00 a.m.
Location: Hillside Cemetery, 1033 Oregon Rd. Cortlandt Manor, NY
For Information contact: Cynthia Lucas 512-740-4412 or David Winograd:
*Saints of Swing to Lead* *Boswell Sisters Second Line and Memorial
Celebration, July 5th*
*Peekskill**, **NY** **June 17, 2008* - The Boswell Sisters were three
New Orleans' girls whose jazz harmonies set radio and the world in a
whirl in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Trained as classical musicians,
the sisters caught the jazz fever that was born in their hometown and
soon began to sing in a way no one had done before. Three years after
they left home they were recording with the Dorsey Brothers and featured
on national radio. So popular was their sound that an epidemic of sister
acts and trios burst onto the scene. After a career that included
Hollywood movies, Broadway shows, playing for the crowned heads of
Europe and reaching what seemed to be the pinnacle of their career, two
of the sisters retired in favor of marriage and family. Their paths led
them to Peekskill, NY, where they raised their families and stayed until
their deaths. Martha Boswell Lloyd, the piano playing eldest sister,
passed away 50 years ago on July 2, 1958. Helvetia Boswell Jones, the
youngest sister, died in Peekskill in 1988.
Bozzies.com will honor the lives and music of the Boswell Sisters with a
traditional "Second Line" march near Peekskill, NY, featuring the Saints
on Saturday, July 5th, at 11 AM at the Hillside Cemetery, 1033 Oregon
Rd. Cortlandt Manor, NY. Fans of the Boswell Sisters, and friends of
Martha, Connee, Vet and their families have been invited to take part in
this rich New Orleans tradition.
"Although Martha and Vet lived in and loved the Hudson Valley, they had
the bayou in their souls," said Cynthia Lucas, director of Bozzies.com
and the Boswell Sisters Centennial. "They didn't have a chance to have a
Second Line when they passed away so we are taking this milestone year
to remember them and introduce their amazing music to a new generation."
The tradition of the Second Line runs deep in the history of New
Orleans. At funerals, a brass band would lead the mourners (the second
line) to the cemetery to the sound of gospel hymns such a "Flee Like a
Bird" and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." After "releasing" the body the
sound of the music would change to upbeat songs, and the marchers would
dance as they returned.
"We didn't know if we could find a group who could play this style of
music here in New York," said Lucas. We were very pleased when we heard
the Saints of Swing and learned about their repertoire. They are able to
mix the traditional second line numbers with music from the Boswell
Sisters, which we believe will make this a real tribute to Martha,
Connee and Vet."
Martha was the first to settle in the Peekskill area in 1936. She and
husband George "Major" Lloyd purchased an old farmhouse in the Putnam
Valley area and converted it into an estate referred to as the
"Lloyd-Boswell Farm." It became a place where Connee, in Manhattan, and
Vet, in Toronto, could get together with the family. It also became a
favored country destination for the Crosby and Bauduc brothers and other
show business personalities. Martha's adventures in farming produced a
variety of livestock and crops including minks, turkeys and corn.
Vet and family moved to Peekskill in the early 1950s to be closer to her
sisters. She lived on Pemart Avenue until her death in 1988.
Connee continued to perform and became a favorite duet partner of Bing
Crosby. Her career included more movies, more Broadway shows, radio and
eventually television. She made appearances on the Perry Como Show, Ed
Sullivan and even had a starring role in the 1959 TV series "Pete
Kelly's Blues." She passed away in 1976.
Participants will meet at Hillside Cemetery's office between 10:30 and
11:00 AM. The Saints of Swing will then lead the Second Line through the
cemetery to the area where most of the Boswell family is interred.
Memorials will be given by those who knew and loved the Sisters and the
ensemble will march back to the office in the celebratory tradition of
the Crescent City.
All are invited to attend, encouraged to bring umbrella's and to dress
in their carnival finery for this tribute.
*About the Saints of Swing
The Saints of Swing are an extraordinary collective of some of the
tri-state area's finest performers. Providing a fresh and exciting
experience in art and entertainment, the Saints of Swing specialize in
eclectic and electric selections of foot-tappin' Swing classics... Hot
N' Cool Jazz served up however you like it - from spicy New Orleans
Dixieland style (complete with a dancin' tuba player!) to elegant New
York City sizzlers... Motown, R&B... Ballroom favorites... and even
1,000,000-watt Gospel, Latin, and Klezmer classics.
The first website devoted exclusively to the Boswell Sisters and Connee
Boswell, Bozzies.com features bios, articles, pictures, interviews and
music from the Boswell Sisters and Connee Boswell, as well as podcasts
and features on musicians who perform their music and the fans who still
avidly enjoy them. www.bozzies.com
*QUOTES AND COMMENTARY *****
"Who influenced me? There was only one singer who influenced me. I tried
to sing like her all the time because everything she did made sense
musically and that singer was Connee Boswell. When I was a girl I
listened to all the singers, black and white, and I know that Connee
Boswell was doing things that no one else was doing at the time. You
don't have to take my word for it. Just check the recordings made at the
time and hear for yourself." /Ella Fitzgerald/
"*The Boswell Sisters*
/Classic Jazz: The Essential Listening Companion//
/by Scott Yanow /
There were many sister vocal groups in the 1920s including the Keller
Sisters and Lynch (who recorded with Jean Goldkette), the Brox Sisters
and the Hannah Sisters. Most at best featured appealing voices and
little else, but the Boswell Sisters were on a completely different
level all together. Not only were they the finest of all the sister
groups of the last century, but the Boswell Sisters were arguably the
best vocal jazz ensemble prior to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross of the
Martha (1905-58), Connee (later known as "Connee") (1907-1976) and
Helvetia (better known as "Vet") (1911-88) were raised in New Orleans.
Connee contracted polio at age three and was never able to walk. Each of
the sisters played instruments early on with Connee learning cello,
piano, sax and trombone, Vet playing violin and banjo, and Martha, the
only one to record playing an instrument*, became an exceptional pianist.
After creating a stir in Los Angeles in the 1920s where they appeared on
radio five nights a week, they began recording in 1930. From the very
start they offered something different than most vocal groups of the
time. Their adventurous arrangements, done mostly by Connee and Martha,
had surprise tempo and key changes, mixed together lyrics and hot
scatting, built up to unpredictable conclusions and swung hard. Connee
was almost always the solo voice, but the harmonies of Vet and Martha
were just as important.
Although some radio listeners called in to ask where the melody was and
many assumed that the white siblings were African Americans, the Boswell
Sisters became a hit in 1931 when they appeared at New York's Paramount
The Boswell Sisters had spots in several films (the best is "Crazy
People" in 1932s /Big Broadcast/), they toured Europe in 1933 and 1935
and, other than the Mills Brothers, they had no competition among jazz
vocal groups. Many of their records featured top jazz soloists including
Bunny Berrigan, the Dorsey Brothers and Joe Venutti, and they still
sound fresh and exciting today.
The group came to a premature end in 1936 when all three sisters got
married and Martha and Vet decided to retire. Connee Boswell, whom Ella
Fitzgerald always cited as her main influence, continued with her solo
career that included memorable recordings with Bob Crosby's orchestra,
short appearances in a number of movies, Broadway revues and a role in
the late 1950s television series "Pete Kelly's Blues".
The Sisters and Connee made over 300 sides, sold over 75 million records
and are still delightful to listen to decades after their last recording.
*Hi-res photos and additional information available at
www.bozzies.com/press <http://www.bozzies.com/press> *
We're not really a "wedding band"**
...but we play /_FABULOUS_/ WEDDINGS!*
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