Earlier than transferring to Vancouver, Eve Duke sang with jazz legend Duke Ellington and his huge band, performing underneath the identify Yvonne Lanauze.
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She recorded and toured with Duke Ellington, hobnobbed with Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald, and now she’s received a daily gig enjoying at Eve’s Cafe, a weekly jazz live performance placed on by Eve Duke at St. Vincent’s Langara care dwelling.
Duke’s 96-year-old fingers glide over the keys of the grand piano within the atrium, her voice remains to be sturdy and exquisite.
“I nonetheless received it,” she mentioned together with her trademark snigger. “She positive does,” added her percussionist, fellow resident Paul Adams. Her bass participant is Wendy Solloway, a jazz specialist employed simply to play with Duke as soon as per week.
“Eve was asking a few bass participant and I occurred to indicate up at the moment, searching for some informal work,” mentioned Solloway. “I feel we have been somewhat sceptical of one another at first, Eve was uncertain a girl might fill the place (enjoying a standing bass), and Eve’s popularity sort of preceded her, this actual diva and every part, so we have been cautious of one another.
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“However we made an instantaneous connection, each musically and on a private stage, and we now get on like a home on hearth.”
In addition to touring with Ellington from 1950-52, she sang on three recordings: Subtle Woman, Temper Indigo and Love You Madly underneath the identify Yvonne Lanauze.
Whereas she doesn’t suppose a lot of her personal piano enjoying, claiming she’s a singer who occurs to play, she is much too modest as a result of her chops have been good at Eve’s Cafe on Thursday. She has a listing of songs she’s aware of and just about sticks to them, however when she does overlook a line, she simply makes up lyrics.
“She by no means misses a beat, each figuratively and actually, and I simply cherish the time we’ve collectively, she is beautiful,” Solloway mentioned.
The power put out a video referred to as Don’t Give Up the Ship in honour of B.C. Seniors Week and devoted it to employees at St. Paul’s Hospital. Whereas Duke’s short-term reminiscence prevented her from collaborating within the singing, she reads the introduction and helped give you among the lyrics.
“I needed to discover a distinctive approach of getting some lyrics out of her,” mentioned Lucy Thomas, the music therapist on the dwelling. She wound up starting a lyric and Duke would end it. “I’d throw a line at her and ask, ‘What comes after this line?’ and he or she got here up with some actually inventive issues.”
Like, following “The storm is coming to an finish,” with, “There’s a rainbow shining over you.”
She thought she would train college after graduating from Howard College however then heard Ellington, like her a local of Washington, D.C., was searching for a singer so she approached him to audition. He clearly preferred what he heard.
“He mentioned, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ and he or she was on-stage a couple of hours later with the band on the legendary Bohemian Caverns.
However a lifetime of touring wore her out and he or she wound up settling in Vancouver, the place she met and married award-winning director and producer Daryl Duke, and carried out in jazz combos across the metropolis.
She’s been at St. Vincent’s Langara for six years.
“She has loads of charisma,” Solloway mentioned. “And music simply seeps out of her cells.”