Earlier than shifting to Vancouver, Eve Duke sang with jazz legend Duke Ellington and his massive band, performing below the identify Yvonne Lanauze.
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She recorded and toured with Duke Ellington, hobnobbed with Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald, and now she’s bought an everyday gig taking part in at Eve’s Cafe, a weekly jazz live performance placed on by Eve Duke at St. Vincent’s Langara care house.
Duke’s 96-year-old fingers glide over the keys of the grand piano within the atrium, her voice continues to be sturdy and exquisite.
“I nonetheless bought it,” she stated together with her trademark giggle. “She positive does,” added her percussionist, fellow resident Paul Adams. Her bass participant is Wendy Solloway, a jazz specialist employed simply to play with Duke as soon as every week.
“Eve was asking a couple of bass participant and I occurred to point out up at the moment, in search of some informal work,” stated Solloway. “I feel we had been slightly sceptical of one another at first, Eve was uncertain a girl might fill the place (taking part in a standing bass), and Eve’s repute form of preceded her, this actual diva and every thing, so we had been cautious of one another.
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“However we made an instantaneous connection, each musically and on a private stage, and we now get on like a home on fireplace.”
In addition to touring with Ellington from 1950-52, she sang on three recordings: Subtle Woman, Temper Indigo and Love You Madly below the identify Yvonne Lanauze.
Whereas she doesn’t assume a lot of her personal piano taking part in, claiming she’s a singer who occurs to play, she is much too modest as a result of her chops had been good at Eve’s Cafe on Thursday. She has an inventory of songs she’s conversant in and just about sticks to them, however when she does overlook a line, she simply makes up lyrics.
“She by no means misses a beat, each figuratively and actually, and I simply cherish the time we now have collectively, she is gorgeous,” Solloway stated.
The ability put out a video referred to as Don’t Give Up the Ship in honour of B.C. Seniors Week and devoted it to employees at St. Paul’s Hospital. Whereas Duke’s short-term reminiscence prevented her from participating within the singing, she reads the introduction and helped give you a number of the lyrics.
“I needed to discover a distinctive means of getting some lyrics out of her,” stated Lucy Thomas, the music therapist on the house. She wound up starting a lyric and Duke would end it. “I’d throw a line at her and ask, ‘What comes after this line?’ and he or she got here up with some actually artistic issues.”
Like, following “The storm is coming to an finish,” with, “There’s a rainbow shining over you.”
She thought she would train faculty after graduating from Howard College however then heard Ellington, like her a local of Washington, D.C., was in search of a singer so she approached him to audition. He clearly favored what he heard.
“He stated, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ and he or she was on-stage a number of hours later with the band on the legendary Bohemian Caverns.
However a lifetime of touring wore her out and he or she wound up settling in Vancouver, the place she met and married award-winning director and producer Daryl Duke, and carried out in jazz combos across the metropolis.
She’s been at St. Vincent’s Langara for six years.
“She has a whole lot of charisma,” Solloway stated. “And music simply seeps out of her cells.”