No matter how impressive any aspect of Teddi King
's career might have been, it is still hard not to be overwhelmed by the mystique of her first-ever live performance as a singing mermaid in a production of Peter Pan. It was the Tributary Theatre of Boston with which she branched off into performing following graduation from high school. Crowned the winner of a singing competition held under the auspices of Dinah Shore
docked into a touring revue whose responsibilities included cheering up the military in the lull between the Second World War and the Korean conflict. According to accounts, the vocalist was studious in this period, working on both classical singing technique and jazz piano playing. She performed with several bands, Nat Pierce
with a recording debut in conjunction with the Motif label. Beginning in the summer of 1952, King
toured and recorded with pianist George Shearing
, matching the latter's exquisite accuracy with a sense of pitch well beyond the realm of the average pop vocalist.
For several decades she sustained a career as a singer, at times rejoining Shearing
on tours. Her solo recordings came out on RCA, Victor, and Coral, live sets as well as studio projects. All the King's Songs
from 1959 is a title with a double meaning, King
decreeing that it was time for her versions of songs made famous by an even dozen of the top male singers, including Nat King Cole
. Stylistically, most jazz critics decided to usurp King
's throne, whittling on her ties to the genre and then feeling bad about it when she died of lupus a few years prior to her 50th birthday. Benefit concerts mounted in support of lupus research have been held in King
's name, usually featuring up-and-coming female singers.