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Singer in The Ellington TraditionCopyright © 2001
Anita Moore was recruited to the ranks of the Duke Ellington Orchestra when Harry Carney and Cootie Williams heard her sing at a pizza parlour in Houston with a band from Texas Southern University in 1972. The players told Ellington about her, and after an impromptu audition, she was offered the job.
Moore remained with the band from 1972 until the late 1980s, working first under Duke, and after his death in 1974, with Mercer Ellington. Her wide range, sympathetic phrasing and the engaging tonal colouration of her voice allowed her to fit seamlessly into Ellington's characteristic soundscape. Her time with the band included the American premiere of his Third Sacred Concert.
She was understudy to Phyllis Hyman in the musical Sophisticated Ladies on Broadway in the early 1980's, and also performed as a solo artist in her own right, singing mainly songs from the Ellington book with an accompanying band which included her brother, Bernard Moore, on flute.
She settled in her native Houston again in 1988, where she taught at an elementary school. She had been in a coma since November, and died of congestive heart failure.