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Carmen McRae


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Harlem, New York NY, United States (1920 – 1994)

Carmen Mercedes McRae (1920-1994) was a U.S. jazz singer, songwriter, and pianist.

McRae was born in Harlem, New York, on the 8th April 1920, and studied piano as a child. As a teenager she came to the attention of Teddy Wilson and his wife, the composer Irene Kitchings Wilson. Through their influence, one of McRae’s early songs, “Dream of Life”, was recorded by Wilson’s longtime collaborator Billie Holiday.

By the late 1940s she was well known among the modern jazz musicians who gathered at Minton’s Playhouse, Harlem’s most famous jazz club, where she was the intermission pianist. But it was while working in Brooklyn that she came to the attention of Decca’s Milt Gabler. Her five year association with Decca yielded twelve LPs.

The musicians she sang with include Benny Carter, Mercer Ellington, Count Basie, Sammy Davis Jr, Dave Brubeck, and Louis Armstrong. She was married once (and briefly), to drummer Kenny Clarke.

McRae died on the 10th November 1994.


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  • Nochek


    11 Jan 6:42am Reply
  • rubyathena

    'weep no more' is timeless and perfect.

    24 Apr 2014 Reply
  • Herick_MS


    12 Mar 2014 Reply
  • Fullmettall

    Old Devil Moon

    22 Jan 2014 Reply
  • Batiste369

    I'm just now getting into this wonderful lady's music and I am blown away! What a talent she was!

    13 Dec 2013 Reply
  • thesleepycloud


    28 May 2013 Reply
  • eliteplum


    8 Aug 2012 Reply
  • Amiiida

    Her voice is not transparently and stable sense of rhythm.

    25 Nov 2011 Reply
  • MusicProducer70

    Hi Friends! See now the video of Tina Still: Tks! Thiago

    6 Jul 2011 Reply
  • bvnni

    This first time I ever heard her sing was on the Vocal version of Take Five by Dave Brubeck. One of my favourite songs and quite by accident, discovered he and his wife had written lyrics to it and Carmen recorded them.

    15 Jun 2011 Reply
  • AllahKrishna

    I want that My woman sings Me this song.

    14 Jun 2011 Reply
  • Septacle

    hits the spot

    16 Feb 2011 Reply
  • bernarducs

    my kind of woman

    6 Feb 2011 Reply
  • nedersong

    I sleep better now

    10 May 2010 Reply
  • floydalbert

    I just love it all and all who love this.

    24 Apr 2010 Reply
  • kaplan06

    Hello my friend, Your page very nice page and songs. :) I wish add you. :) My name is Hüseyin

    5 Dec 2009 Reply
  • LordTammer

    Where've you been 'ol_smitty', this woman has been a jewel, a huge smack down since FOREVER. "Make people AWARE of her- Sarah, Ella, Nancy, Dinah, Nina just to name a few, are whispered in the SAME breath. She's been there all along, you just gotta know where to look . . . welcome aboard anyway, maybe you can show us country 'bumpkins' a thing or 2, )x-(

    25 Nov 2009 Reply
  • Joebee58


    21 Jul 2009 Reply
  • ol_smitty

    I truly thank all of you who comment on carmen mcrae and now lets make everyone else aware of her, Play it and spread it cause she is 1 of the greatest i am on jango and pandora so it will take me some time to get my page up and going so bare with me I will be back to bring some more great stuff like this.ty again ol_smitty

    10 Apr 2009 Reply
  • 1969SL

    Glad that helped some of you to learn about one of the best jazz singers ever.For some reason she was not universaly known as Billie,Ella or Sarah althought musicians loved and respected her - there is a famous anecdote about Miles Davis who was upset about Ella Fitzgerald being called "Queen of Jazz" on some promotional poster - "hell,what is Carmen than?" said Davis. I dont think McRae was ever concerned with any of this "rating" business as she had her own faithful cult following and she never compromised her artistic sensibility - all of her recordings are very serious,high-quality releases and there is hardly ever a single wrong note on them.She didn't compromise,did not sell millions of records but kept her dignity and stayed true to herself (by the way,she was also a great piano player and composer - Billie Holiday recorded her song "Dream of life").

    9 Apr 2009 Reply
  • All 41 shouts