Natalie Lamb

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During the late '60s and '70s, Natalie Lamb was one of the top singers in trad jazz and classic blues, styles of music that were very much out of vogue. Although she has had a lower profile since, she…
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During the late '60s and '70s, Natalie Lamb was one of the top singers in trad jazz and classic blues, styles of music that were very much out of vogue. Although she has had a lower profile since, she is still one of the best in her field. Born Natalie Elston, she originally studied classical singing. After graduating from Hunter College, she worked as a folk singer. A turning point was discovering the album Odetta Sings the Blues which led her into becoming very interested in vintage blues. By the time she performed at a Town Hall concert in 1965 with pianist Sammy Price, Lamb had expanded her interests and expertise into '20s jazz. A recording that she made that year with Price for Columbia may have given her some fame, but it was never released. She would not get another opportunity to record a similar set with Price until 1979's Natalie Lamb & the Blues for GHB; the reissue also includes a few fine selections from 1999. Lamb became best known for her work with the Red Onion Jazz Band starting in 1969. She married leader Bob Thompson in 1972, and her Bessie Smith-influenced blues vocals were a major asset to the group. In later years she worked at many classic jazz festivals, visited Europe, and recorded with the Peruna Jazzmen (I'm a Woman, also for GHB).