If Women Ruled The World
Ethel Ennis, the phenomenal Baltimore singer, who in the early years of international stardom rejected the frantic demands of the road and what she perceived to be the increasing in sincerity and superficiality of show business, nonetheless, boasts an all-star performance resume equal to that of most legendary jazz singers.
She performed in Europe with an all-star Benny Goodman band, jammed with Louis Armstrong and Count Basie, sung on national television with Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, McCoy Tyner, Stephane Grappelli, Ray Brown, Billy Taylor, Milt Jackson, Toots Thielmans, Joe Williams, Phil Woods and Gerry Mulligan. Eventually decided to use her native city as a home base and become a self-proclaimed “semi-star,” occurring in selective international festivals and performances.
Since she began singing as a high school pianist in a professional jazz group, Ethel has left little musical terrain uncharted. She has appeared at major music festivals, concert and club venues and on national broadcasting programs in every decade since the 1950s. She continues to perform with the Great American Music Ensemble on National Public Radio, at festivals and in the Kennedy Center in Washington, where she has been called arguably “the most accomplished jazz singer performing today.”
According to her biography, Ethel Ennis, the Reluctant Jazz Singer, by Sallie Kravetz (Gateway Press), Ms. Ennis set a precedent singing the National Anthem solo a cappella at Richard Nixon’s re-inauguration, an approach to the anthem which has since been copied many times. She performed at the White House during both his and Jimmy Carter’s administrations.
As Baltimore’s official ambassador she introduced American jazz at an international music festival in Xiamen, China, where she sang a jazz version of a native folk song in Chinese.. Ethel has also appeared four times in Rotterdam, another sister city and represented the United States in Norway during the commemoration of the first American soldier killed in World War II. Her Turkish concerts in 1996 at the Ankara International Music Festival and for the Turkish-American Association “deeply impressed the audiences with the magic of jazz.” She returned to Turkey for repeat performances in the Spring of 1997.
Ethel’s first national recording was made in 1955 for Jubilee Records. Since that time, she has recorded 10 albums for Capitol, Atlantic, RCA and BASE. In 1997, she signed a contract with Savoy Jazz Records. If Women Ruled The World is her first effort for Savoy.