1. Toshiko Akiyoshi
  2. Geri Allen
  3. Andrews Sisters
  4. Angela Andrews
  5. Lil Harden Armstrong
  6. Dorothy Ashby
  7. Pearl Bailey
  8. Beverly Barkley
  9. Karen Briggs
  10. Ruth Brown
  11. Diane Cameron
  12. Betty Carter
  13. Joan Cartwright
  14. Kim Clarke
  15. Gloria Coleman
  16. Alice Coltrane
  17. Dorothy Donegan
  18. Ella Fitzgerald
  19. Rita Graham
  20. Jace Harnage
  21. Billie Holiday
  22. Bertha Hope
  23. Shirley Horn
  24. Lena Horne
  25. Alberta Hunter
  26. Jus' Cynthia
  27. Sandra Kaye
  28. Emme Kemp
  29. Vinnie Knight
  30. Lavelle
  31. Peggy Lee
  32. Abbey Lincoln
  33. Melba Liston
  34. Gloria Lynne
  35. Tania Maria
  36. Marian McPartland
  37. Carmen McRae
  38. Mabel Mercer
  39. M'zuri
  40. Sandy Patton
  41. Trudy Pitts
  42. Cheryl Porter
  43. Shirley Scott
  44. Nina Simone
  45. Bessie Smith
  46. Carol Sudhalter
  47. Sarah Vaughn
  48. Dinah Washington
  49. Ethel Waters
  50. Mary Lou Williams


Born April 8, 1920 - November 10, 1994, in Harlem, New York City, to West Indian parents. She began studying 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 12 LPs.

Her live 1987 duets with Betty Carter are highly regarded (see The Carmen McRae-Betty Carter Duets).

The musicians she sang with include Benny Carter, Mercer Ellington, Count Basie, Sammy Davis Jr., Dave Brubeck, and Louis Armstrong. As a result of her early friendship with Billie Holiday, she never performed without singing at least one song associated with Lady Day.

She was married to drummer Kenny Clarke and the double bassist Ike Isaacs.