Herb Jeffries was a singing star with Earl “Fatha” Hines before he became the “Bronze Buckaroo,” starring in all-black Hollywood westerns as Herbert Jeffrey. He helped raise money to make the films in which he was billed as “The Singing Cowboy.” He made four films between 1937 and 1939 when Duke Ellington heard him at the Apollo Theater and hired him. His rich baritone and huge range made him a popular singer, and he stayed with the band until 1943. “Flamingo” became a nickname for him because of his rendition of that song. He is also closely associated with “Satin Doll,” and he introduced “Angel Eyes” with the band. In 1941 he appeared in the stage show Jump for Joy.
After service in WWII, Jeffries settled in France where he owned a nightclub. After returning to the U.S. he was in a plane accident in 1948. Pain from his injuries led him to study with the Indian spiritualist who founded the Self-Realization Fellowship and who taught him yoga and healing practices.
Jeffries still leads an active life, making public appearances to support school music programs and raise money for band instruments.
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com
Role: Classical Artist