DOUBLE XXPOSURE MEDIA RELATIONS PRESENT NEW JERSEY’S GOT TALENT – THE LEGACY CONTINUES
Cheryl Washington, Princess Gadson, Kevin Goins – Contributing Writers/Editors
Angelo Ellerbee – President/Founder, Double XXposure Media Relations
NEW JERSEY’S GOT TALENT – THE LEGACY CONTINUES – MELBA MOORE & FAMILY
Teddy Hill (Harlem Resident)
The legacy continues with jazz tenor saxophonist, Teddy Hill – the natural father of Melba Moore. A longtime conductor of big bands and jazz orchestras, Hill ceased working as a bandleader in 1940 when he became the manager of the jazz club, Minton’s Playhouse. His selection of talent and encouragement of jam sessions resulted in Minton’s reputation as the birthplace of be-bop
Gertrude Melba Smith (Newark NJ Resident)
The legacy continues with singer Gertrude Melba Smith, the mother of Melba Moore. Ms. Smith was an R & B singer, born in New Orleans. After she moved to the New York City area, Gertrude sang with Teddy Hill’s band. In 1942 she joined the Piccadilly Pipers, a group based in Newark, New Jersey. Her 1942 recording of “Don’t Stop Now” (released under the name Bonnie Davis) for the newly formed Savoy label reach the top position on the Billboard “Harlem Hit Parade,” the precursor to its Rhythm & Blues chart.
Clement Moorman (Newark, NJ Resident)
The legacy continues with singer Clement “Clem” Moorman – the stepfather of Melba Moore. His professional music career started at age 13, when he was pianist for the Sunday School of Newark’s Thirteenth Avenue Presbyterian Church. At age 22, he was part of Johnny Jackson’s Society Orchestra, playing at the prestigious Terrace Ballroom at Newark Symphony Hall. He created the house band, The Piccadilly Pipers, for the Piccadilly Club, a notable venue of the Newark jazz scene. Through the ’40s and ’50s, Clem and his bands recorded for the Savoy, Apollo, Decca, and Columbia record labels. His record “Don’t Stop Now” under the band name the Bunny Banks Trio was number one for five weeks on the Harlem Hit Parade.
Charles Huggins and Beau Huggins
(New Jersey Residents)
The legacy continues with record executive Charles Huggins – the former husband of Melba Moore – and his brother, producer Beau Huggins. During the ’80s and early ’90s HUSH and Orpheus were highly innovative and top-knotch NYC-based artist management and production companies co-founded by the Huggins brothers with Melba Moore. Their stable of Soul and Urban Jazz stars included among many others Freddie Jackson, Melba Moore, Me’lisa Morgan, Najee and Alex Bugnon. The company was successful through collaborations with NYC prime producers, arrangers and songwriters like Kashif, Rahni Song, Barry Eastmond and Paul Laurence who created the “HUSH Sound” – inspired by The Motown Sound since both companies had staff producers who employed the same musicians for their sessions like Motown’s legendary Funk Brothers.
The legacy continues with Charli Huggins – the daughter of Melba Moore and Charles Huggins. Born Melba Charli Huggins, she currently heads The Gallery Entertainment label – which released the hit album, “Imagine”, for Melba Moore (Charli served as co-executive producer with her uncle, Beau Huggins), as well as the most recent release by jazz saxophonist, Andre Ward (“Africa Rising”)
Charli Huggins (right) – NYC
Melba Moore –Raised in Newark, NJ; Montclair State College alumnus
The legacy continues with the Marvelous Legendary Ms. Melba Moore. The Harlem-born Melba was raised and schooled in Newark NJ – a proud alumnus of Newark Arts High School and Montclair State College (bachelor’s degree in music). Ms. Moore rose from session work as a studio vocalist to being cast in the legendary Broadway musical “Hair” – soon rising to lead actress after the show’s star Diane Keaton left to do movies (Melba was the first Black actress to replace a white lead actress in a Broadway play). Then as Lutibelle in the Broadway hit, “Purlie”, Moore was the first Black stage actress to earn the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress In A Musical. Television soon beckoned (CBS-TV’S “Melba Moore/Clifton Davis Hour”, summer 1972, replacing The Carol Burnett Show – the first Black couple to host a TV variety series) and years later, R&B and dance hits (“This Is It”, “You Stepped Into My Life”). Upon marrying Charles Huggins, he and Melba with Beau Huggins launched Hush Productions – which soon dominated the R&B music scene from the late 1970’s to early 1990’s. Hits came – “Love’s Comin’ At Ya”, “Falling”, “A Little Bit More”, “Mind Up Tonight”. With A-list talent from fellow NJ legend, Dionne Warwick, to hit makers Bobby Brown and Howard Hewitt, Moore recorded what is considered the definitive version of “Lift Every Voice & Sing” – recognized by the USA’s National Registry. Ms. Moore’s latest album, “Imagine”, brought her back to the charts and she’ll soon receive her Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2023.