Category: baby name Ella
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The connection to the haunting voice of a well known jazz or blues singer definitely adds an element of –well—rhythm and blues—to a name’s image, an extra infusion of richness and pizzazz. Boyish Billie takes on new depth when listening to Lady Day, Etta goes from fusty to soulful via the “At Last” singer James. Here then, the Nameberry Picks of the jazziest ‘girl’ jazz singer names.
Billie Holiday, one of the greatest and most tragic jazz singers of all time, was born with the name Eleanora and took her professional name from an actress she admired called Billie Dove—who was originally Bertha. Billie is a tomboyish nickname name that was in the Top 100 from 1928 to 1935, and now seems to be making a return—Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane have a young daughter named Billie Beatrice.
It’s pretty obvious that some popular names start a daisy chain of cousins that become equally popular, as was seen most recently in the progression of a group of top girls’ names beginning with E. First there was Emily, which was the Number 1 name from 1996 to 2007. One year after that, Emma reached the top spot, only to be trailed by Ella, who has now been in the Top 20 since 2008.
Yet as recently as the 1980s, Ella wasn’t even in the Top 1000, seen as a rather frumpy has-been, stuck in appellation limbo. Which leads us to wonder who will be next? Which two-syllable E-name will escape from the lower depths to follow in this progression?
The leading contenders:
There’s something undeniably cool and, well, jazzy, about many of the distinctive names of jazz musicians. Take the ultimate example, the personification of cool –Miles Davis– who imparted an eternally silky, seductive veneer to his name, as did Quincy Jones.
The inimitable Ella Fitzgerald gave her name a jazzy edge long before Ella was anywhere near the top of the pop lists. Names like Ray and Roy, Cecil and Percy and Dexter all take on an appealing funkiness and rise to another level when looked at in the context of jazz.
The surnames of jazz immortals can be considered as well, just as they have by a few celebs—model Helena Christensen’s Mingus, and Woody Allen’s Bechet, for example. The middle name of Wynton Marsalis’s son Jasper is Armstrong; Cynthia Nixon’s boy Max has Ellington as a middle.
Want to see your baby’s name in lights?
There are a few ways to go about it. There’s the Toddlers & Tiaras approach, courting fame with elaborate hair-dos and dance routines from an early age. Or you could choose the name of a Hollywood legend – Ava or Marlon or Humphrey.
Here’s my new favorite: head to the multiplex. Right now Hanna and Arthur are on the marquee. Even if you aren’t into movies about teenaged assassins or immature playboys, odds are that you’ll notice their names. Many a stylish appellation has graced a movie poster.
Looking back over the past few years, choosing a baby name from movie ticket stubs might be a winning proposition.
There’s something undeniably cool and, well, jazzy, about the names of jazz musicians. Take the ultimate example, the personification of cool –Miles Davis– who imparted a silky, seductive veneer to his name, as Quincy Jones did to his.
The inimitable Ella Fitzgerald gave hers a jazzy edge long before Ella was anywhere near the pop lists. Names like Ray and Roy, Cecil and Percy and Dexter all take on an appealing funkiness and rise to another level when looked at in the context of jazz.
Jazz immortals’ surnames are another possiblity,as chosen by a few celebs—model Helena Christensen called her son Mingus, and Woody Allen used Bechet, the name of one of his musical heroes, Sidney Bechet.
Here, some of the jazziest choices:
- ABBEY Lincoln
- ALBERTA Hunter
- ANITA O’Day
- BESSIE Smith
- BLOSSOM Dearie
- CARMEN McRae
- CASSANDRA Wilson
- CLEA Bradford
- CLEO Laine
- DAKOTA Staton
- DELLA Reese
- DINAH Washington