Alicia Cunningham, one half of The Cunningham Duo for over four decades, passed away in a Las Vegas Hospital on December 23 at the age of 68 after battling cancer since early 2013.
For over forty years, Alicia — Don Cunningham's soul mate in music and marriage — thrilled listeners in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Toronto, Calgary, Singapore, offering a variety of music influences such as West Indies, Afro-Cuban, Japanese, Brazilian, bebop and scatting.
She traveled back and forth to adoring audiences where her and her husband headlined major hotels in Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea, and Japan for more than 20 years.
Alicia, a Los Angeles native, is perhaps distinguished in yet one other way. According to husband Don, she was the only Mexican-American singer doing hard jazz.
A classically trained vocalist and pianist, Alicia Cunningham worked in the L.A. studios and as an educator at Loyola University in her early years.
She met her husband, Don, when he moved to L.A. in the early 70s. The combination of his jazz-influenced energetic singing style and Alicia's fluid, clear and lyrical sound, proved exciting and interesting. As a result they began to develop a solid reputation.
The Cunningham's notoriety was evident, and the twosome even toured with Count Basie in Europe for five months at major events and jazz festivals in England and Switzerland.
Alicia's last St. Louis performance took place in the Fall of 2014 with Don when he received a St. Louis Jazz Hall of Fame Award in conjunction with the Wolff Jazz Institute at Harris-Stowe University. Over the years, Alicia appeared at many other St. Louis venues: Playboy Club, Sheldon Concert Hall, U-City Jazz Festival, 560 Music Center, Robbie's House of Jazz, etc.