Adelaide Louise Hall (October 20 1901 – November 7 1993) was an American-born UK-based jazz singer and entertainer. Her long career spanned more than 70 years from 1921 until her death and she was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hall entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world’s most enduring recording artist having released material over eight consecutive decades. She performed with major artists such as Art Tatum Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fela Sowande Rudy Vallee and Jools Holland, and recorded as a jazz singer with Duke Ellington (with whom she made her most famous recording, “Creole Love Call” in 1927) and with Fats Waller.
In October 1927, Hall recorded her wordless vocals on “Creole Love Call”, “The Blues I Love To Sing” and “Chicago Stomp Down” with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. The recordings were worldwide hits and catapulted both Hall’s and Ellington’s careers into the mainstream.
The story behind “Creole Love Call”‘s conception is interesting to recount: In 1927, Hall and Duke Ellington were touring in the same show, Dance Mania. The show opened at the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem on 14 November and played there for one week before travelling to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to appear at the Standard Theatre. Hall closed the first half of the bill and Duke was on in the second. Duke had a new number, “Creole Love Call”, which he included in his set. Hall recounted, “I was standing in the wings behind the piano when Duke first played it (“Creole Love Call”). I started humming along with the band. He stopped the number and came over to me and said, ‘That’s just what I was looking for. Can you do it again?’ I said, ‘I can’t, because I don’t know what I was doing.’ He begged me to try. Anyway, I did, and sang this counter melody, and he was delighted and said ‘Addie, you’re going to record this with the band.’ A couple of days later I did”. When Duke was recounting the incident to a reporter he explained, “We had to do something to employ Adelaide Hall,” and then added, “I always say we are primitive artists, we only employ the materials at hand … the band is an accumulation of personalities, tonal devices.”