Bessie Smith - 2001
The “Empress of the Blues,” Bessie Smith is the the honoree for the sixth annual American Music Masters series.
Smith is one of the best known and most influential artists from the 1920s. During this time, she played to packed houses throughout the South and Midwest. Her catalog includes over 160 songs, most of which were self-penned. She played and recorded with a number of noted musicians during the span of her career, including Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Eubie Blake and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ma Rainey.