From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Humes, Helen

(born: 1913  -  died: 1981) 

Born in Louisville, KY, Humes made her first recording in 1927 in St. Louis. She then moved to New York and worked with the Vernon Andrades Orchestra. She replaced Billie Holiday in the Count Basie Band, recorded tunes for film and television, and appeared in the film Simply Heaven [Langston Hughes]. Humes moved to California in the 1940s and when her career slowed in the 1960s, returned to Kentucky. Humes' career picked up in the 1970s. For more see Kentucky Women, by E. K. Potter; and Contemporary Musicians, vol. 19, by S. A. McConnel.

Access InterviewListen to the Helen Humes Oral History (includes transcript) at the University of Louisville Libraries.

View Helen Humes with Dizzy Gillespie c.1947 on YouTube.

Cite this NKAA entry:

“Humes, Helen,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 28, 2017,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 13:51:26