James Ellsworth Al’ Trott (1927-2019)
A popular Bermudian singer who enjoyed a colourful career in the United States has died at 91.
James Ellsworth “Al” Trott’s childhood dream of becoming a jazz singer landed him a stint with one of Bermuda’s top hotel circuit bands of the 1950s, called the Holiday Island Revue.
The band, which was founded by the promoter couple Don and Elsbeth Gibson, shaped the careers of many young Bermudian artists, including Gene and Pinky Steede.
Mr Trott performed at clubs around the island as well as in Canada. He moved to the US in the 1960s.
According to family lore, he was sent a telegram inviting him to sing at the March on Washington in 1963, a milestone event organised by the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Mr Trott was asked to sing James Weldon Johnson’s Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, known as “the Negro national anthem”; but had to turn it down because he was not yet a full citizen.
His career blossomed as a nightclub singer in establishments throughout New York, and he went on to perform in Atlantic City and Hawaii, as well as Australia and Denmark.
Mr Trott became a bus driver for the Metropolitan Suburban Bus Authority, but continued his performing career as a dancer and singing waiter.
The father of two is survived by his wife of 40 years, Quindella Jordan.
Mr Trott’s funeral was held on September 6 in St Albans, New York.
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