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African American women jazz singers




Carline Ray: A Pioneer For Women In Jazz Dies At 88

A pioneering musician, and the mother of jazz singer Catherine Russell, Carline Ray died July 18. In the 1940s, Ray found a home in the all-female band The International Sweethearts of Rhythm as a guitarist and vocalist. In 2012, Fresh Air spoke with Russell about her mother.


Fresh Air Remembers Jazz Singer Abbey Lincoln.

Lincoln, the jazz legend who transformed herself from a supper-club singer into a powerful voice in the civil-rights movement, died Saturday. She was 80. Fresh Air revisits two interviews with the respected performer, actress and songwriter.

Portions of this interview were originally broadcast on March 25, 1986, and June 16, 1996.


'Inside' A Backup Singer's Journey To Center Stage.

Jazz singer Catherine Russell spent years singing backup for performers like Paul Simon and David Bowie before starting a solo career. She's just released her third album, Inside This Heart of Mine.

This interview was originally broadcast on June 11, 2008.


Jazz Week: Jazz Singer Abby Lincoln Says, "A Song Is a Prayer."

Jazz singer/songwriter Abby Lincoln. Once married to legendary jazz drummer Max Roach, she’s made her mark on jazz for over 40 years, singing with giants like Benny Carter, Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins. Lincoln has been hailed by one critic as the "Last Great Diva", and says herself that she sings in the tradition of Sarah Vaughan, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday. (REBROADCAST from 6/16/93)


Remembering Jazz Singer Betty Carter

We remember jazz vocalist Betty Carter with a 1990 interview. She was considered one of jazz's great singers, composers and arrangers. She was known for her work with small groups, her control of tempo, and her vocal improvisations. In 1961 she recorded what became a classic album, "Ray Charles and Betty Carter." In 1993 she began the Jazz Ahead series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Last year she received the National Medal of Arts. She died on Saturday of pancreatic cancer. She was 69. (REBROADCAST from 11/28/90)


From the Archives: Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Author, jazz writer and musician, Stuart Nicholson. He is an expert on and biographer of late jazz great Ella Fitzgerald. Nicholson is the author of te 1994 book "Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz" This month the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History opened its exhibit: Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song. It examines Ella Fitzgerald's 60-year career and her rags-to-riches climb to international fame as a jazz and popular singer.


Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Author, jazz writer and musician, Stuart Nicholson. He is an expert on and biographer of late jazz great Ella Fitzgerald. Through interviews with those closest to her,. "Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz" (1994, Charlse Scribner's Sons) shows the public and private side of the media-shy legend. In her career of over 60 years, she gained the admiration of her contemporaries in the business. At the age of 79 and after years of suffering from diabetes, Fitzgerald died Saturday (June 15) at her home in California.


A Look Back at the Life and Career of Carmen McRae

We talk with jazz critic Kevin Whitehead about singer Carmen McRae, who died last night at age 74. McRae has been called one of the three greatest female jazz singers, along with Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.


Jazz Singer Betty Carter

Carter's latest album in her four decade career is "It's Not About the Melody," on the Verve Record Label. Carter signed to Verve in 1988, and released her Grammy-winning debut, Look What I Got, that same year. We play our interview with her from 1990, recorded when her album Droppin' Things was released.

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