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Hazel Scott

When she became a celebrity in the 1940s, and even when she had her own television show in 1950; movie producers offered African American actors only stereotypical roles. Long before the civil rights movement made organized protest common for African Americans to register their desire for equal rights, Hazel Scott, defied racial stereotypes, portraying a positive screen and stage image, thus improving the opportunities for other African Americans in the entertainment industry. Even for a celebrity of her caliber, Scott, like most African Americans during the 1950's, was no stranger to Jim Crow segregation. She, however, acted with dignity while promoting American patriotism and racial integration, and denouncing communism. In short, Scott was an astonishing sultry song stylist who created her own concept of black pride and steadfastly adhered to it.

Hailing from Port of Spain, Trinidad, under the guidance of her mother Alma; she began playing piano at the age of two. Hazel began formal music training after the family had moved to the United States in 1924. She made her formal American debut at New York’s Town Hall two years later and by 1929 Scott had acquired six scholarships to Julliard School of Music in New York City. Unfortunately she, at fourteen, was under age (the school admitted at the age of sixteen only). In the meantime she joined her mothers All-Woman Orchestra, playing piano and trumpet.

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