It seems like Ernestine Anderson was born to sing. When she was just a little girl, she was singing in church and hearing her father perform with a gospel quartet...and teaching herself to play piano by ear. As a teenager, she attended Garfield High School in Seattle and made her professional debut in 1946 at 18, singing with the Bumps Blackwell Junior Band. Another student in the band at the time was Quincy Jones, who would later found Qwest Records and record two Grammy-nominated albums for her.
Anderson's vocal versatility kept her in demand and she had early work with Johnny Otis's band. She toured with Lionel Hampton in the early 1950s. From heartfelt ballads to deep, soulful blues, her sound encompassed it all. Her first album "Hot Cargo" was recorded in Sweden and released in the United States in 1958. She would go on to record several more albums for Mercury Records, ultimately recording over 30 albums in a career that spanned six decades. The 1960s ushered in rock & roll in America, so Anderson split her time between the U.S. and Europe. She staged a sensational return to American Jazz with a 1976 performance at the Concord Jazz Festival and recorded some of her most acclaimed music for Concord Records, including her signature release, 1981's "Never Make Your Move Too Soon." She sang around the world, achieving performances at The Kennedy Center, as well as every singer's dream...Carnegie Hall.