Una Mae Carlisle

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Una Mae Carlisle.jpg

Una Mae Carlisle (December 26, 1915 – November 7, 1956)[1] was an American jazz singer, pianist, and songwriter.


Carlisle was born in Xenia, Ohio. Fats Waller discovered her when she was still in her teens, while she worked as a local Cincinnati performer live and on radio. Her piano style was much influenced by Waller's; she played in a boogie-woogie/stride style and incorporated humor into her sets. She played solo from 1937, touring Europe repeatedly and recording with Waller late in the 1930s.

In the 1940s Carlisle recorded as a leader for Bluebird Records, with sidemen such as Lester Young, Benny Carter, and John Kirby. She had a longtime partnership with producer/publisher/manager Joe Davis, which began after her contract with Bluebird expired. Her records under Davis included performances from Ray Nance, Budd Johnson, and Shadow Wilson. She also saw success as a songwriter; Cab Calloway and Peggy Lee were among those who covered her tunes. She had her own radio and television programs late in the 1940s. Her last recordings were for Columbia Records with Don Redman early in the 1950s.

Illness forced her to retire in 1952, and she died in New York City in 1956.

Partial discography[edit]


  1. ^ Wagner, Paulette (1994). "Carlisle, Una Mae (1915–1956)". Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 218. ISBN 0-253-32774-1.