Native New Yorker and 2019 New York Bistro Award Winner for Outstanding Recording: Bridges, 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 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. She has appeared at some of Harlem’s best Jazz rooms such as Minton's, and the legendary Lenox Lounge, where to a sold out audience, she performed music from her inaugural CD Home. She has also appeared at the 20 19 Berks Ja zz F est, Zinc Bar, Metropolitan Room and at the world-famous jazz club, Birdland. Once the opening act for the jazz icon Abby Lincoln, Shirley has recorded with the soulful jazz saxophonist, Houston Person, and has also performed with the celebrated jazz pianist Harold Mabern, bassist, Jamil Nasser, Donald Vega, David Budway, Ron Blake, David Glasser, Brandon Lee, Matt Haviland, Cameron Brown, Jon Burr, Jim West and others. In 2010, she was one of the top 5 ﬁnalists 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. In 2011, Shirley released her debut CD HOME. For the ensuing 26+ weeks 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. Her latest project BRIDGES, top 50 album on the Jazz Week album chart was released in April 2018.
Short Bio (about 150 words)
“Crabbe’s Ella Fitzgerald–like voice glows…” Downbeat Magazine
Native New Yorker, Jazz Vocalist, and winner of the highly coveted New York Bistro Award for Outstanding Recording: BRIDGES, Shirley Crabbe sings songs that speak to the heart. With a repertoire of songs replete with lyrics worth listening to and a voice hailed as one that "must surely appeal to all who love good jazz singing, her "almost Ella Fitzgerald–like vibe glows…" says John Ephland of Downbeat Magazine. "Crabbe ... wrings the poetic imagery out of songs... [and sends them to a] rarefied realm." –Raul De Gama, JazzDeGama.com.
Drawing on a wide range of music from the Americas, including classic Jazz, The Great American Songbook, and spirituals, Crabbe's music is a tribute to the rich history and vibrant sounds of Jazz.
Once the opening act for Abby Lincoln, Shirley has recorded with the legendary jazz saxophonist Houston Person and was mentored by the late, celebrated jazz pianist Harold Mabern. She has had the privilege of collaborating with some of New York's most talented musicians on numerous projects, notably pianists Donald Vega and David Budway, among others. Her debut album "HOME," which featured Houston Person, was released in 2011.
Her latest album, "BRIDGES" (2018), was a huge success, reaching the top 50
on the JazzWeek national radio chart, the deﬁnitive jazz national radio chart that reports the top Jazz albums played each week on radio stations across the US.
Shirley has also enjoyed performing at some of New York's most prestigious jazz venues, including Birdland, Jazz at Kitano, Minton's, Zinc Bar, the legendary but now-closed Lenox Lounge, and the Berks Jazz Festival. She 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. Shirley actively performs at jazz clubs, festivals, and concert series throughout the United States.