The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist from Cafe Society to Hollywood to HUAC

by Karen Chilton

(University of Michigan Press)

"Perhaps the highest compliment one can pay to this fine biography is that during the first 150 pages the reader is wondering why Scott isn’t better known, at least in the jazz world. But by the story’s end in 1981 with Scott’s death...the same reader knows exactly why, but is still likely to be singing her praises as a true trailblazer in African-American culture."

JAZZ TIMES, Lee Mergner 

"Karen Chilton's highly-anticipated 'Hazel Scott' is both elegant and eloquent."

WIL HAYGOODAuthor of King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

“Karen Chilton has deftly woven three narrative threads—Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Harlem, and Hazel Scott—into a marvelous tapestry of black life, particularly from the Depression to the Civil Rights era. Of course, Hazel Scott’s magnificent career is the brightest thread, and Chilton handles it with the same finesse and brilliance as her subject brought to the piano."    HERB BOYDAuthor of Baldwin’s Harlem:  A Biography of James Baldwin

Also available as an AUDIOBOOK

"This book is really, really important. It comprises a lot of history-- of culture, race, gender, and America. In many ways, Hazel's story is the story of the Twentieth century."

MURRAY HORWITZCo-Author, Ain't Misbehavin' & NPR commentator

"Hazel Scott was an important figure in the later part of the Black renaissance onward. Even in an era where there was limited mainstream recognition of Black Stars, Hazel Scott's talent stood out and she is still fondly remembered by a large segment of the community. I am pleased to see her legend honored."​​

MELVIN VAN PEEBLES, Filmmaker/Director

“A wonderful book about an extraordinary woman: Hazel Scott was a glamorous, gifted musician and fierce freedom fighter. Thank you Karen Chilton for reintroducing her. May she never be forgotten.”


Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University



"Chilton's calm, eloquent tone replicates Scott's 1940s musical style...[her] soft, melodious voice captures the listener's attention with its hypnotic stillness. This performance invokes the memories of smoked-filled jazz clubs and the Hollywood glam of the era."

Audio Excerpt