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McRae, Carmen

Born: 1920 AD
Died: 1994 AD
Nationality: American
Categories: Singer

1920 – Born on April 8th in New York, New York. American jazz vocalist and pianist who outgrew an early emulation of vocalist Billie Holiday to become a distinctive stylist, known for her smoky voice and her lyrical, melodic variations—mostly on jazz standards.

1944 – McRae studied classical piano as a child, worked with bandleaders Benny Carter and Count Basie.

1946-1947 – Made her recording debut as Carmen Clarke (being then married to jazz drummer Kenny Clarke) with Mercer Ellington’s orchestra.

1953-1954 – She spent several years as an intermission pianist in small nightclubs and in non-musical jobs until successfully recording.

1955 – She toured extensively (being particularly popular in Japan), recorded frequently, and appeared in many musical contexts.

1994 – Died on November 10th in Beverly Hills, California.