Lucy Reed was an appealing but little known jazz vocalist who performed around Chicago in the '50s. The cool-toned Reed, who appreciated cool school singers like Chris Connor and June Christy, lived in different parts of the Midwest -- she was born in Marshfield, WI in 1924, went to high school in St. Paul, MN in the late '30s/early '40s and lived in Milwaukee, WI, Iron City, MI and Duluth, MN in the '40s before living in Chicago in the '50s. When Woody Herman's big band played Duluth, Reed was hired for some of his local gigs -- after that, she was a featured singer on some of Charlie Ventura's Midwestern shows. Based in Chicago in the '50s, Reed was regularly accompanied by bassist Johnny Frigo (who had been with the Soft Winds) and pianist Dick Marx at a club called the Lei Aloha. The Midwesterner didn't do very much recording, although she briefly recorded for Fantasy. Sessions in New York in 1955 and Chicago in 1957 resulted in her debut LP for Fantasy, This Is Lucy Reed. The 1957 session employed Marx and Frigo, while the 1955 date employed the great pianist, Bill Evans -- regrettably, Evans didn't solo at all. After the '50s, Reed became even more obscure. In 1991, Fantasy reissued Reed's 1955 and 1957 recordings on the 16-song CD, The Singing Reed. ~ Alex Henderson
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