Being in the presence of the legendary blues and jazz singer Sweet Georgia Brown was an unforgettable experience. She was an entertainer with a unique way of getting up close with her audience. It was not unheard of for fans to find themselves on stage with her. She just connected with her listeners. Sweet Georgia Brown, was born on March 22, 1947, in South Carolina. She passed away peacefully on September 30, 2022 at the age of 75, surrounded by her family.
She can be soft-spoken, but all her performances are electric and energy-filled. We should know because she was a resident performer here at Arthur’s Tavern in New York City for years.
Sweet Georgia Brown was born in a small town in South Carolina. Having discovered her talent at the tender age of three, hers has been a lifetime of art — dance, song, and songwriting.
She learned ballet and tap dancing at that young age as well, but later chose to focus on music. Like many young artists, she found a stage early on by singing in church. Her mother would take her to New York City in the summer months to attend dance and music classes.
Eventually as a teenager, the family moved to the city where Sweet Georgia Brown attended high school. She continued with music school at the prestigious Victoria School of Music in Harlem.
Sweet Georgia Brown earned herself the nickname ‘The last red hot mama’ because of her sexy vibe. Plus, she sometimes wears the costume. She was sometimes called the sexiest grandmother on Grove Street.
She’s worked so hard over the decades, earning a reputation as the last real Harlem diva blues queen and One Sassy Lady. According to Sweet Georgia Brown, her music is relatable because she writes them from real-life experiences. And if she can convey her emotions to the audience, she wins. This she does every time she steps onto the stage.
But her allure is far more than her sexiness, crowd teasing and steamy performances. Throughout her career, she’s worked with other legendary blues & jazz artists, made several albums and even received the distinct honor of being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame back in 2012.
At only thirteen years of age, she won the Amateur Night at the Apollo talent show. And she’s also a member of the Jazz and Blues Foundation of America. Some famous artists she’s worked with include:
Her albums are a treasure for every blues and jazz lover.
Cherry Pie: She self-released the blues album Cherry Pie in 2007. It includes tracks like You Hurt Me, So I Hurt You, I Am A Bad Girl, Cherry Pie, etc.
Let the Good Times Roll: The song with the same title is a feel-good tune. Sweet Georgia Brown’s energetic performance always promises the audience a fun time.
According to her website, she also created numerous albums including Big Leg Woman and Girl. In recent years, Sweet Georgia Brown performed locally in New York as well as in venues all over the world. She’s always out to please the audience, whether a handful of people or a packed theater.
You’ll quickly notice that along with search results about the artist, Google also returns the results for a song with a similar name. But the two are not related.
Sweet Georgia Brown (the song) is a 1925 standard jazz and pop tune. Its composers were Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard, while Kenneth Casey wrote the lyrics.
Over the years, many artists have done a variation of the song. Artists such as The Oscar Patterson Trio, Benny Goodman, Doc Watson, and others have done a piece with a similar title.
Some people feel that Sweet Georgia Brown may have named herself after the song, but she’s never said so.
Sweet Georgia Brown’s legacy can still be seen at Arthur’s Tavern through singers including Seydurah Avecmoi who regularly performs at our venue. Our NYC jazz club’s live performance schedule includes The Creole Cookin’ Jazz Band, The Grove Street Stompers, and The Johnny O’Neal Trio, among many other jazz and blues acts.