Born: February 18, 1963 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Jazz vocalist Shirley Crabbe sings songs that speak to the heart. As a teenager, Shirley was inspired by a performance of Ella Fitzgerald singing the song “A Tisket, A Tasket” in an old Abbot and Costello movie. “I’ve always had a passion for singing, but when I heard Ella sing, I knew that “jazz singing” was what I really wanted to do.” Following her passion, Shirley pursued her dreams first to Illinois to earn a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, and then back home to New York, to study Voice at the distinguished Manhattan School of Music (MSM). During the day she studied classical music uptown at MSM, but in the evening, she traveled downtown to sing jazz in the clubs. Shirley has performed at festivals, jazz clubs and concert series in New York City and it’s surrounding area. Her most recent appearance was at Harlem’s historic Jazz room, Lenox Lounge, where to a sold out audience, she performed music from her inaugural CD Home. She has also appeared at the Metropolitan Room and at the world-famous jazz club Birdland. Once the opening act for the jazz icon Abby Lincoln, Shirley has also performed with the celebrated jazz pianist Harold Mabern and bassist Jamil Nasser. In 2010, she was one of the top 5 nalists at Jazzmobile’s “Best of the Best” Jazz Vocalist Competition held in New York City. In 2009, she was awarded Rockland County’s highest arts award: the County Executive Performing Artist Award. Shirley is also the Stanton Bronze Medalist of the 2008 American Traditions Vocal Competition at the Savannah International Music Festival in Georgia. Shirley is a versatile performer and has appeared in various stage productions including Coming to the Mercy Seat at Shetler Studio’s Theater 54 in the role of the Poet and in Ain’t Misbehavin’ at the Elmwood Theater, where she performed the role of Armelia. She is the featured soloist on the jazz CD Africa by The Mystic Pilgrims. On September 27, 2311 Shirley released her debut CD Home. For the ensuing 26+ weeks (with 6 weeks Chartbound) the album remained on the Jazz Week Album Chart, the definitive jazz national radio chart that reports the top Jazz albums played each week on radio stations across the US.
Awards:2010 Top 5 Finalist NY Jazz Mobile Best of the Best Vocal Competition; 2009 Arts Council of Rockland Performing Artist Award; Stanton Bronze Medal Winner: American Traditions Vocal Competition
Crabbe sings with soulful aplomb, investing the lyric with a mournful and deeply knowing emotionality. Nick Bewsey - Jazz in Space
“Vocalist Shirley Crabbe has a big, wide-open optimistic style that's reminiscent of a young, excited Sarah Vaughan. This is a gorgeous album from a lovely singer”… Marc Meyers, JazzWax.com
Crabbe's very attractive voice and her ability to convey the essence of a lyric make her a jazz vocalist you want to hear again and again. Her second CD can't come soon enough. Scott Albin - Jazz Times
...warm, upbeat and on the money throughout. Tasty stuff well worth checking into. Midwest Record
It is refreshing to listen to a 'pure' standard-setting jazz singer who adamantly eschews the use of vocal histrionics to 'get over,' instead relying on the best writers, committed musicians, and her own pristine talent. Jazz music is richer to have a vocalist of such high caliber as Shirley Crabbe... Jazmuzic.com
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Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Manhattan School of Music, Northwestern University School of Music