Ben Black is a promising but obscure jazz vocalist who frequently performed around Seattle in the 1990s. Like Jimmy Scott, Black has been influenced by female singers to the point that he often sounds like he could be one himself. Scott is among Black's main influences, as are Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. There are also traces of Mel Torme in his subtle phrasing. Black was born at the U.S. Army Hospital at Ford Ord in Monterey, CA, but he would end up living in the Seattle Area. In 1995 and 1996, a 29-year-old Black recorded the material heard on his debut album, In A Mellow Tone, which Seattle pianist Barney McClure released on his MNOP label a few years later.