Dolores Parker, Big Band Vocalist Dies at 99

Dolores “Dee” Parker Morgan, 99, on December 17th. She won an amateur contest in 1939 and joined the Rhythm Debs, a female trio that toured with Fletcher Henderson’s band. She then married and joined her first  husband, trumpeter Vernon Smith, in Earl Hines Orchestra during the mid-40s. In 1947 she joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra. She made many recordings with Ellington but her favorite was 1947s “Take Love Easy.”

Dolores Parker, Big Band Vocalist Dies at 99While she was with Ellington she was briefly engaged to boxer Joe Louis and was referred to on a 1953 cover of Jet Magazine as the “Brown Hope” of the famed “Brown Bomber.” In 1956 she left music and settled down in Akron, Ohio with her husband, Dr. E. Gates Morgan.

After 30 years of doing charity work and sitting on boards in the area, a concert held to launch a Dolores Parker Morgon Music Scholarship at Kent State relaunched her career. She spent the rest of her life working with various bands around Ohio, singing at events, and mentoring younger singers.

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Dolores Parker, Big Band Vocalist Dies at 99
Dolores Parker, first on the left.
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