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Shirley Crabbe

"Crabbe's almost-Ella Fitzgerald vibe glows” — Down Beat Magazine

About Me

As a teenager, native New Yorker and 2019 New York Bistro Award winner, Shirley Crabbe was inspired by a performance of Ella Fitzgerald singing the song “A Tisket, A Tasket” in an old Abbot and Costello movie. “I’d 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 club.

Shirley Crabbe has been hailed as possessing a voice that “must surely appeal to all who love good jazz singing.” Her “almost Ella Fitzgerald–like vibe glows…” says Downbeat Magazine's John Ephland on her 2011 debut recording HOME featuring the legendary saxophonist Houston Person. Her 2018 Top 50 album BRIDGES (2018) has received rave reviews and spotlights her collaborations with renowned pianists Donald Vega, and David Budway. Shirley has been a guest on syndicated​ radio programs such as “Jazz Inspired” hosted by Judy Carmichael, and Steve Cuden's “StoryBeat” to name a few, and currently performs at jazz clubs, festivals and concert series in the US. She is the recipient of the 2009 Rockland County Executive Performing Artist Award, 2008 Stanton Bronze Medalist at the American Traditions Vocal Competition. In 2010, she was a top 5 finalist at Jazzmobile’s “Best of the Best” Jazz Vocalist Competition held in New York City.

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because.. it gives me the freedom to be myself. My personality, my taste, and my intuition are what guides me every time I perform. I was first exposed to jazz... when I was young. I loved seeing Ella Fitzgerald sing in an old Abbot and Costello movie. I met the opera singer Shirley Verrett when I was in school... she was very gracious and showed me how to be classy after a performance The best show I ever attended was... Jason Moran. He played Body and Soul on piano. His interpretation of the song touched my heart so much that I became overwhelmed with emotion and almost started sobbing. The first jazz record I bought was...First Circle by Pat Metheney My advice to new listeners... try to listen to the end of the song - the beginning might not catch your ear immediately but it may be worth the wait

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