Ann Gilbert

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Discovered on Chicago's South Side, Ann Gilbert emerged briefly in the mid-'50s on the Groove label, RCA's blues/jazz subsidiary. She'd begun singing in church at the age of four and by ten, she was a…
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Discovered on Chicago's South Side, Ann Gilbert emerged briefly in the mid-'50s on the Groove label, RCA's blues/jazz subsidiary. She'd begun singing in church at the age of four and by ten, she was a regular on the radio program Young America Sings. She acted and sang in summer stock musicals and seemed destined for a career in classical music when jazz beckoned. Gilbert was studying classical music at Lindenwood College for Women in St. Charles, MO. She began improvising at the piano and found that she preferred experimenting with music rather than the formality of classical study. Gilbert began singing in clubs, working as her own accompanist, and began building a reputation at clubs in Indianapolis and Chicago. In 1956, she got her big chance to record when she was signed to Groove Records by a talent scout passing through Chicago. The result was her only album, The Many Moods of Ann, on which she was accompanied by the Elliot Lawrence Orchestra. Pianist/bandleader Elliot Lawrence also did the arrangements; her accompanists included Al Cohn on tenor sax and clarinet; Harold McKusick on alto, clarinet, and flute; Sam Marowitz on alto and clarinet; and Osie Johnson on drums.