1939 to 1991
April 8, 1920 in Harlem
November 10, 1994
Harlem, United States
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.
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