Little is known about this very fine singer. In the early 1940's, Duke Ellington discovered a seventeen year old with remarkable poise and singing ability. Joya Sherrill (born 1927 in Bayonne, NJ) worked with him for a short spell in 1942 and, after writing the lyrics to "Take the 'A' Train", joined his band in 1944. Sherrill scored a major hit with "I'm Beginning To See The Light". After four years with Ellington she became a solo singer. She is generally considered to be one of the finest jazz vocalists of that era and one of the most-often heard singing voices in the United States. Sherrill toured the USA in 1959, appearing in nightclubs and at army bases, then took an acting role in a Broadway play. She went to the USSR with Benny Goodman (1962), performed and recorded with Ellington in Chicago (1963), and also recorded two albums as a leader (1960, 1965). She appeared twice in "The Ed Sullivan Show" (in 1962 and 1963). Ten years later, Joya Sherrill turned up as the host of a fondly remembered children's program broadcast on WPIX channel 11 in New York. One of Duke Ellington's last TV appearances was on this show. In the spring of 1970, Joya Sherrill became the second African/American NYC based entertainer to host a kid's TV show, and the first African/American woman to do so. "Time For Joya" was seen Sunday mornings on WPIX TV ch. 11 in NYC beginning Sunday, March 29, 1970. It remained on the air until Sunday, October 3, 1971. Then the series were revamped with a new title, "Joya's Fun School", and aired from Monday, January 2, 1972 to Friday, March 27, 1972. Then the existing shows were simply rerun from Friday, April 7, 1972 until some time in 1982. Ellington had a high regard for Sherrill, whose diction and articulation he considered excellent. With a wonderful contralto, she could sing some of the virtuoso pieces he wrote that required an opera singer.
Enjoy this Joya's joyful song!
Hi diddle diddle