Now nearly forgotten, Lovie Austin was a founding talent of the Golden Age of Jazz and leader of her own band, the Blues Serenaders, which frequently played at the top Harlem Renaissance venues.
Lovie Austin - Overview of her life and career.
Lovie Austin: The Hidden Blues Queen Who Inspired Swing Kingmakers - This Austin profile opens with some brief personal reflections from the author, then moves into a deeper look at Lovie Austin's formidable impact on musical history. One of jazz's other pivotal greats, Mary Lou Williams, is quoted as saying, "She was a greater talent than many of the men of this period. My entire concept was based on the few times I was around Lovie Austin." This article, like other biographical profiles, notes that she liked "cruising the South Side (of Chicago) in a leopard skin-upholstered Stutz Bearcat car." It's fun to imagine her tooling around in something like the 1914 Stutz Bearcat below...
Mary Lou Williams Quote About Lovie Austin - "I remember her in the pit of the theater, legs crossed, cigarette in her mouth, playing with her left hand, conducting at least four other male musicians with her head, and writing music with her right hand for the next act that would appear on the stage. As a little girl, I said to myself, 'I'll do this one day.' Later on when I was traveling and doing one-nighters with Andy Kirk, I'd play all night with my left hand and write new arrangements with my right -- sometimes I'd work crossword puzzles on the stand. The memory of Lovie Austin is so vivid to me. Seeing her, challenged me into doing difficult things."
Alberta Hunter with Lovie Austin's Blues Serenaders - This is a full 37-minute album of Alberta Hunter singing with Lovie Austin and her Blues Serenaders (10 songs).
Down Hearted Blues - A 1923 recording of Alberta Hunter singing Lovie Austin's composition. The sheetmusic version also sold well. Note: Lovie Austin wrote hit songs for many of the greatest jazz singers, including Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, and Bessie Smith. Bessie Smith's recording of Down Hearted Blues, for example, sold nearly 800,000 copies -- an astonishing success for the time.
Lovie Austin and the Blues Serenaders - A Soundcloud playlist with 17 tracks of songs recorded between 1924-1926.
Those Dogs of Mine - A 1924 recording of Ma Rainey, accompanied by Lovie Austin and her band, the Blues Serenaders.