A Tribute to Ethel Ennis, Baltimore's "First Lady of Jazz" | WYPR

A Tribute to Ethel Ennis, Baltimore's "First Lady of Jazz"

Feb 22, 2019

Ethel Ennis at the 2007 Silver Spring Jazz Fest in Silver Spring, MD
Credit Wikipedia photo

Last Sunday, the First Lady of Baltimore Jazz, Ethel Ennis, passed away at the age of 86 from complications following a stroke.

Baltimore has produced many great jazz artists like Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Eubie Blake and several others, and Ethel most certainly deserves her place in the panoply of these great jazz legends. 

She was a singer with uncanny technical gifts and a vivid, singular and compelling musical imagination.  She was a composer.  She was a pianist.  She was a gem.

Tom Hall interviewed Ethel Ennis three times between 2007 and 2012, when he was the Culture Editor on WYPR's old  "Maryland Morning" show.  As fellow musicians and as friends, their paths crossed often in Baltimore.  We've drawn on some of those archived interviews for this tribute to Ms. Ennis, and in sharing a bit of her music and conversation, we celebrate her great talent, and her remarkable life.