AUDREY MORRIS, 89, April 1, In Chicago. A pianist and singer who caught the ear of well known jazz men and the eye of Hollywood before settling into her role as the leading lady of Chicago cabaret. She released albums in the mid fifties which revealed a reflective understanding of tone and lyric beyond her years. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of songs and would only perform those up to her standards. It was this sensibility that led her to back away from a contract with Warner Brothers in the late 1950’s and return to Chicago where she could maintain artistic integrity.
Traveling musicians would seek out her engagements at Mister Kelly’s supper club, and Chicago’s London Club. She developed many fans and friendships, most notably with Oscar Peterson. As the golden age of cabaret dimmed she limited her performances in the 60’s and 70’s rather than perform songs she lacked an interest in. She returned to a full time engagement at Chicago’s Palmer house in 1981. Since then she has released four albums on her own label, Fancy Faire; Afterthoughts (1984), Film Noir (1989), Look at Me Now (1997) and more recently Round About. She continued to grace the Chicago jazz community with impromptu performances on special occasions well into her 80’s.
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