Cleo Laine

With a multi-octave voice similar to Betty Carter's, incredible scatting ability, and ease of transition from a throaty whisper to high-pitched trills, Cleo Laine was born in 1927 in the Southall section of London, the daughter of a Jamaican father and English mother. Her parents sent her to vocal and dance lessons as a teenager, but she was 25 when she first sang professionally, after a successful audition with the big band led by Johnny Dankworth. Both Laine and the band recorded for Esquire, MGM and Pye during the late '50s, and by 1958, she was married to Dankworth.