The Kennedy Center

Shirley Horn


Shirley Horn began her career as a pianist in a Washington, D.C. restaurant/night club and later eased into her role as a vocalist. "It was no big thing," she says, "but then I started to realize how much I loved to sing." Content to stay at home, where she played the One Step Down for more than twenty years, Horn was coaxed away to New York City in 1960 by Miles Davis, the legendary jazz trumpeter. Davis had been seduced by Horn's debut recording and invited her to open for him at the Village Vanguard, catapulting her into the limelight. In 1998, Horn paid tribute to her mentor with the brilliant I Remember Miles, for which she won the GRAMMY Award® for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. All in all, Horn has garnered seven consecutive GRAMMY® nominations, and her albums, Here's to Life, Light Our of Darkness, and I Love You, Paris, all soared to number one on the Billboard jazz charts.

In addition to her GRAMMY® award and nominations, Horn has won five WAMMIEs®, the Washington area's music industry award. In 1987, she was presented the Mayor's Arts Award for "Excellence in an Artistic Discipline" in Washington, D.C. In 1990 Horn's Close Enough for Love album won one of France's premiere music awards, the Academie De Jazz's Prix Billie Holliday. Other awards include the Edison Populair HR57 Award®, the Phineas Newborn, Jr. Award®, and she was voted #1 female vocalist in the New York Jazz Critics Awards® and #1 jazz vocalist in DownBeat 's Critics' Poll.

Ms. Horn was elected to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Hall of Fame in 1996, she died 22 October 2005 in her hometown of Washington DC.
A Tribute to Shirley Horn: The Music Never Ends

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