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Carlisle, Una Mae

Carlisle, Una Mae

Carlisle, Una Mae jazz pianist, singer, composer; b. Xenia, Ohio, Dec. 26, 1915; d. N.Y., Nov. 7, 1956. Carlisle was of American Indian and Afro-American ancestry. She was discovered by Fats Waller while he was working in Cincinnati in late 1932; she worked with him for a while, then was featured as a solo act. She worked and recorded in Europe (1937–39), appearing in England, France, and Germany; she returned to the U.S. on the eve of the Second World War. With Waller, she recorded “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” (1939), singing straight to his wisecracks. She recorded solo on Bluebird, backed by Lester Young, Benny Carter, and Slam Stewart; her own “Walking by the River” was a hit (1941), as was “I See a Million People.” She had her own radio and TV series in the late 1940s. She suffered for many years with mastoid trouble, which forced her to retire in 1954.

Discography

The Complete Una Mae Carlisle (1994).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter

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