Juror's Biography: Etta Cox
Voted 1999, Performer of the Year by the Post Gazette.
With Gateway to the Arts for the past ten seasons, vocalist Etta Cox, along with the Al Dowe Quartet, has broght the jazz elements of syncopation, improvisation and scat singing to the ears of at least 280,000 of the region's school students. The children and young adults who have seen her Gateway to Music School Program, "A Vocal Journey with Etta Cox," now have a far better understanding of the African-American influence on American music and how the hoot and holler songs of 200 years ago are related to the rap music of today. Some of these same elements are traced in her second program with Al Dowe's group, "Bebop to Doo Wop."
Originally from St. Joseph, Missouri, and trained as a music educator, Etta was selected as one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh Magazine for 1995. She was awarded Woman of the Year in Arts and Music for 1995 by the Pittsburgh Vectors Society and she received the Harry Schwalb award for Excellence in the Arts in 1998. She was also featured on the cover of Pittsburgh Magazine in September 1998 along with Al Dowe for receiving the magazine's annual Arts Award for Jazz. In January 2000, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette awarded her Performer of the Year for 1999. She has appeared on Broadway, in movies, in local productions at the City Theater and the Public Theater, and co-hosted a television talk show -- all between club work and school programs!
Etta and Al have collaborated in poetry programs with Pulitzer Prize winner, Gwendolyn Brooks, and in two programs with actor Danny Glover reading the poetry of Langston Hughes. They also tour with their rendition of the Cotton Club Revisited and a popluar Duke Ellington program. Somehow they have recently found time to record a CD called The Sunday Jam, recorded at the Manchester Crafstmen's Guild, which was inspired by the Sunday Night Jam Session at Club Cafe on the South Side. More recently, Etta completed her own CD called, My Foolish Heart.