Dolores Mancuso - vocals

Delores was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and started performing at 5 years old with her stepfather, who was half of a weekly radio duo known as the Weed Brothers. By her senior year of high school, she was singing as Dolores King and Her All Male Orchestra. By her early 20s, she was singing popular songs with various bands on the music circuit. During World War II, Dolores was performing with Vinnie Genovese and his Swing Band, and she fell in love with the music of Sara Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald.

She began to include “scat” singing, the jazz technique of substituting nonsense syllables for lyrics and improvising to the music, into her act. Jazz had become popular, and she found plenty of engagements. Along with her singing, she played piano and bass.  Dolores performed with bands at Army service clubs, and in 1941, she met Salvatore Mancuso, a talented bass player. They eventually married, had a baby boy together, and settled in Utica in 1946.  While raising a family, Delores continued to sing, though much less frequently. She and her husband saw a big resurgence of popularity during the be-bop era, and made a name in the region, singing and recording with some of the area’s best-known jazz musicians, including Rick Montalbano, J.R. Montrose, Sal Nistico, Carmen Caramanica, Joey DePalma and Monk Rowe. She once opened for Count Basie.

When her son Sammy was old enough to make a name for himself as a drummer, she performed with him and her husband as the Sammy Mancuso Trio.  Delores later remarried, but her legend lives on in a few cherished recordings, and the reputation she built over many successful years. She has a standing offer to sing along when certain musicians stop through for performances, and she still flashes the winning smile and exudes the great charm that endeared her to club audiences. Delores also spontaneously breaks into song when reminded of her favorite standards. A reminder that, although she enjoys a quiet, less hectic life these days, there will always be a song in her heart. 

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