Herb Jeffries: The world’s most amazing 92 year old.

By Action Jack McClendon


Vim, vigor, and vitality are words I use to describe the vintage veteran of song, Herb Jeffries. The velvety voice of “The Big Band Baritone” has caressed the ears of people everywhere for the better of 70 years.

Known to jazz lovers all over the world for his remarkable renditions of “Angel Eyes”, “Satin Doll”, and “Flamingo,” the sole surviving member of the original Duke Ellington Orchestra, at 92, is still going strong. In fact, his singing engagements are booked for the next two years. Amazing!

His platinum selling classic “Flamingo,” is still being sold more than 60 years after its initial release. If that’s not amazing enough, his voice sounds better than ever and he is still recording new songs with no plans to stop. Incredible!

Most entertainment history books recognize Herb “Bronze Buckaroo” Jeffries, as the first African-American movie star. “I don’t like hyphenated nouns….It divides people…. I’m just an American who acted in movies and recorded songs,” says the modest Jeffries.

Last month, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, honored Jeffries at a special Whitehouse celebration honoring Black Music. Among the attendees were First Lady, Laura Bush, Secretary of State, Colin Powell, Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, and National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice.

“Singing to the President, his staff, and guests was a real thrill for me,” declares the humble Jeffries. “The President said that he was honored to meet me. I told him, ‘I think we have our scripts mixed up. I’m the one who should say that.’”

You will have the opportunity to see the incomparable Dr. Herb Jeffries in person, Saturday, September 13, 2003, 2:30 p.m., Crest Theater, Oceanside. “The Big Band Baritone” will give a one-time-only, retrospective of his illustrious career. The special matinee is the second show in a series of entertaining events and concerts for the nonprofit Oceanside Music Festival. Tickets: $ 15.00. For information call the Oceanside Visitor & Tourism Center, 1-800-350-7873.

This story was based on my radio interview with Herb Jeffries. Your comments are greatly appreciated; feel free to e-mail me at action @encouragemint .com or call me at 1-760-754-1954. Listen to Action Jack McClendon Encourage Mint Radio every Saturday, 11:00–1:00 pm, on KKSM AM 1320.