Anita Moore's singing career happened quite by accident, as the story goes. Raised in Texas, Moore was singing in a Texas Southern University jazz ensemble at a pizza parlor when several players from Duke Ellington's band happened to walk in just as she was singing the Ellington tune "I'm Beginning to See the Light." The players, Harry Carney and Cootie Williams, told Ellington of the songstress, and she was hired by Ellington after an impromptu audition. Moore stayed with Duke Ellington & His Orchestra from 1972 until the late '80s, after Duke's death in 1974. From there, she participated in the cast of the Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies, as an understudy for Phyllis Hyman, the featured vocalist. Moore returned to her hometown of Houston in 1988 and became an elementary school teacher. Due to congestive heart failure, Moore passed away at the age of 51 in Houston on April 28, 2001. Through her career with Ellington and her work as a teacher, her singing touched the lives of several generations.
Share this page