Mabel Mercer

Genres: Jazz
Tags: jazz female vocalists vocal jazz female lesser known yet streamable artists female voices jazz ladies female popular vocal Powered by AudioScrobbler
Decades: 1950s 1960s 1970s 1990s 2000s
Links: allmusic VIAF wikidata wikipedia


3 February 1900, Birmingham, Staffordshire, England, d. 20 April 1984, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA. A celebrated and influential cabaret singer, as a young girl Mercer was educated at convent school, and underwent classical voice training. Her mother was a white variety singer and actress, her father a black American jazz singer who died before she was born. Her mother remarried and became popular in music hall in the UK, sometimes touring overseas. In her teens, Mercer became a professional dancer, and made one of her first appearances in a London production of Lew Leslie’s Blackbirds, which starred Florence Mills. By the early 20s, she had become a singer, performing in various parts of Europe and the Middle East. Before the end of the decade she had settled in Paris, and was soon a featured attraction at the renowned Bricktop’s nightclub, mixing with and entertaining the ‘lost generation’ of American expatriates which included songwriters...

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British-born singer Mabel Mercer greatly influenced every traditional pop singer who followed her, especially Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne and Nat King Cole. This classically-trained vocalist first burst on the European club scene in the ‘20s before making her New York debut where she solidified her legendary status and became the singer everyone came to hear. The albums she recorded for Atlantic in the ‘50s and ‘60s were the most critically acclaimed of her career, particularly those she made with Bobby Short.

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by Mabel Mercer