Personalities | Ida Cox | Twenties | Jazz & Blues
An important figure in the so-called ‘classic blues’ genre, Ida Cox (née Prather) performed in minstrel and tent shows as a teenager. She had already become a vaudeville star when she began to record for the Paramount label in 1923. Apart from her gifts as a vocalist, she was an independent spirit who wrote much of her own material and managed several touring companies (e.g. Darktown Scandals and Raisin’ Cain).
She was one of the relatively few ‘classic blues’ singers who continued to prosper during the Depression. In 1939 she appeared at John Hammond’s landmark Spirituals To Swing concert in Carnegie Hall, but the market for her style of music dwindled in subsequent years and she suffered a stroke in the mid-1940s. Nevertheless, she continued to record and perform, on and off, until her death. Her final recording, from 1961, featured Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax.
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