(Alberta Hunter, pic lifted from wikipedia)
Hunter (1895-1984) really had two careers – the first beginning in 1911 when she was 16 and ending in 1956, the second beginning in 1977 and ending with her death in 1984. She was a musician, song writer and performer who travelled all over the world, took lovers of both sexes and recorded with all sorts of musicians, from Louis Armstrong to Lovie Austin. Her song ‘Downhearted Blues’ was recorded to great success by Bessie Smith.
Blues singers like Hunter and Victoria Spivey are important in a history of jazz for their contribution to the careers of musicians like Armstrong, their role in the development of the recording industry (which grew largely through the popularity of blues music) and their strength as composers developing a popular jazz repertoire and aesthetic.
Hunter performing live in 1981 at 86 (Alberta Hunter – Two-fisted Double-Jointed Rough & Ready Man):
Hunter recorded singing ‘Fine and Mellow’ in 1939 with Charlie Shavers (Alberta Hunter Fine and Mellow):