Alicia Keys reminded everyone that she is one of music’s greatest, when she played two pianos at the same time during one of her 2019 Grammy performances as host.
At the beginning of this incredible performance, Keys mentioned that she’s channeling one of the greatest pianist, Hazel Scott. But before February 10, 2019, many people did not know who Hazel Scott was.
Scott was prominent as a jazz singer throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In 1950, she became the first black person to have a TV show, The Hazel Scott Show, featuring a variety of entertainment.
Recognized early as a musical prodigy, Scott was given scholarships from the age of eight to study at the Juilliard School. By the age of 16, Hazel Scott regularly performed for radio programs for the Mutual Broadcasting System, gaining a reputation as the “hot classicist”. In the mid-1930s, she also performed at the Roseland Dance Hall with the Count Basie Orchestra. Her early musical theatre appearances in New York included the Cotton Club Revue of 1938, Sing Out the News and The Priorities of 1942.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Scott performed jazz, blues, ballads, Broadway and boogie-woogie songs, and classical music in various nightclubs. From 1939 to 1943 she was a leading attraction at both the downtown and uptown branches of Café Society. Her performances created national prestige for the practice of “swinging the classics.” By 1945, Scott was earning $75,000 ($1,043,762 today) a year.
In addition to Lena Horne, Scott was one of the first Afro-Caribbean women to garner…