She liked long walks in Central Park and was very proud of her “Cole Porter” view in her Manhattan apartment. A singer’s singer. Equally potent in the Great American Songbook as in contemporary material. Her love for Brazilian music was endless. The best songwriters were sending her their material so that she could give it her inimitable touch. She was known for her unlimited repertoire of about 2.000 songs and recorded about 20 albums on various labels, most notably on Concord. I had the chance to interview her several times – in New York after one of her celebrated performances at the Oak Room, during one of those long walks in Central Park, and also in Berlin where she performed in 1996.
It would have been Susannah’s 70th birthday today if she hadn’t decided in May 2001 to jump off her 16th floor apartment on West 86th Street.
“I love to sing standards from the Golden Age of American popular song, but I also love to find contemporary songs that reflect the times we live in now and could never have been written in another era, like the work of Paul Simon, Rupert Holmes, and Dave Frishberg. I feel a great affinity for Brazilian songs, the sound of the language and the sadness and seriousness…”, she wrote in the liner notes to her 1993 album “From Bessie To Brazil”.
Many of her interpretations of famous songs have become definitive versions, like Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Waters Of March” or Irving Berlin’s “There’s No Business Like Show Business”.