courtesy of Gregory Woods
Loretta ThomasLoretta Thomas (a.k.a. Loretta White or Loretta Whyte) was born in 1910 in St. Louis, MO. Early in her childhood, Loretta began playing the piano. At age 14, she played for silent movies; it was the beginning of her career. She met William White, her later husband.
During Prohibition, Loretta played in speakeasies. She performed with different bands, and in 1945, she founded her own band, based at the Flame Club, which was run by herself and the promoter James Thomas. When, in 1964, James Thomas died, she took over the club. A newspaper announced: "The Flame, home of some of Milwaukee's better jazz music over the years, has been reopened by proprietor-organist Loretta Whyte... She fronts The Flame club trio."
Loretta withdrew from the scene in 1990, when her club had to be closed. She died in 2008.