Zaidee Jackson (1898-1970)

Zaidee is fairly well known and left behind a substantial recording profile. But her work in the UK is often not so explored – so we’ve uncovered this in more detail here.

Zaidee sang both jazz songs and spirituals, and was well known in Paris, the US and in the UK. She performed in the UK regularly between 1928 and 1933, in revues, variety and in radio broadcasts.

About Zaidee’s work in the UK

In 1928 she performed at the Piccadilly Hotel, apparently recommended by a Lord Lathom, the review notes she ‘has charm and versatility, and is especially good in spirituals’ (Daily Mirror 06/06/1928, 11). She was reported as having arrived via Cannes.  She broadcast regularly on the radio from London’s radio station from September 1928, often programs of spirituals though she was also described as a ‘[Black] syncopated song artist’. In October 1928 she performed spirituals before a play, Deadlock, though this appears to have been ill received by audiences at the time.

In September 1929 she performed in an all-Black cast variety radio show with Leslie Hutchinson, Williams and Taylor and Jackson and Blake. The radio work seems to have paused as Jackson then went into variety theatre (the Argyle, Birkenhead, Blackpool Palace). In 1930 she then performed in variety across the UK, first in Manchester Hippodrome, and then singing as a vocalist in support of Sir Henry Wood’s concerts at the London Coliseum (January 1930). By March 1930 she was appearing with the tagline ‘the singer from the Southland’, and was singing ‘My Fate is in Your Hands’ in variety. She must have been living or based at John C Payne’s house, as she gave his address for communications. She began broadcasting again in July 1930, though must have departed for Paris at some point fairly soon after this. 

Jackson returned to the UK in 1933, now billed as a blues singer in Ballyhoo at the Comedy Theatre (London’s West End). She began broadcasting shortly afterwards. By December 1934 she was performing in Monte Carlo, and appears not to have returned to the UK.

Sources

British Newspaper Archive, The Bystander

Read more

Wikipedia page entry

Jackson is mentioned in Michel Fabre’s 1991 book From Harlem to Paris Black American Writers in France, 1840-1980 and in Hilton R. Schleman’s Rhythm on Record (1978). Archive.org has some references to her in period jazz magazines and in biographies of other (usually) women performers.

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