Still Swinging, Still Classic: A Musical Biography of Pioneering Pianist Hazel Scott

A portrait of Hazel Scott (1920-1981), the wife of late Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and a Julliard-trained pianist who performed in some of the world's most prestigious concert halls.

Known as the “darling of Café Society”, the Trinidad-born Scott was quickly recognized as a child prodigy, being accepted as a piano student at Juilliard at age 8. By age 14, she was playing in touring female bands while being mentored by Billie Holiday, Fats Waller and Art Tatum.

Later in life, Scott became a trailblazer in Hollywood; an outspoken civil rights activist which made her a political target; and finally an outcast, after being ostracized from her then-husband’s renowned Harlem church because of her musical style.

One of the reasons we've chosen to devote a special to Scott is her under-appreciated place in music, despite activism in the entertainment industry that rivaled that of Paul Robeson.

"She was the first African American woman to host her own television show without sketch comedy or a variety of guests, and I was completely enamored by her story even before hearing any of her recordings, which are amazing and trailblazing," says WQXR's Terrance McKnight. "Her story will be of great interest to historians, music lovers and musicians."

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