Cleo Laine


Cleo Laine, Britain’s internationally famous “Queen of Jazz,” has a career that spans more than four decades. One of the most celebrated singers of our time, she commands a dazzling array of vocal styles and is the only singer ever to receive Grammy nominations in the Female Jazz, Popular, and Classical categories. Ms. Laine began her musical career in the early 50's in her native England. In her mid-twenties she joined and toured with the hugely successful British band led by the acclaimed John Dankworth.  Ms. Laine is also an illustrious actress; in London she starred in Flesh to a Tiger, directed by Tony Richardson at the Royal Court Theatre. Her theatrical credits also include A Midsummer Night 's Dream, Valmouth, Women of Troy, the title role in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Showboat, Colette, The Seven Deadly Sins, A Little Night Music, and The Merry Widow. She originated the role of Princess Puffer in the Broadway hit musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood, for which she received a Tony nomination and earned a Theater World Award, as well as a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. She played "The Witch" in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, receiving a nomination by the Los Angles drama critics for Best Lead Performance. In 1983, Cleo became the first British artist to win a Grammy Award, Best Female Jazz Vocalist, for the third of her "live" Carnegie Hall albums. She has been a frequent guest on American television including such specials as An Evening at the Boston Pops With Cleo Laine and Cleo Laine: Live at Wolftrap. She has also been a featured performer on the classic British television show That Was The Week That Was. Her awards and honors include an honorary doctorate from the Berklee School of Music, the Order of the British Empire, and a Lifetime Achievement Accolade from the British Jazz Awards in 1996. Her CDs include Quintessential Cleo and Live in Manhattan (Gold Label, March 2002), The Very Best of Cleo Laine and Solitude, an all Ellington recording with John Dankworth, Mercer Ellington and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Cleo Laine appeared in the Terrace Theater in March 1998, performed a world premiere song cycle commissioned by the Kennedy Center in the Concert Hall with the John Dankworth Group on February 11, 2000, and returned to salute Billy Taylor on January 20, 2002.

“Few singers in any genre make more beautiful sounds than Cleo Laine…who remains in full command of an astonishing technical arsenal.” (Stephen Holden, The New York Times)

February 2003
Photo of Cleo Laine