Carline Ray

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Carline Ray
Born(1925-04-21)April 21, 1925
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 18, 2013(2013-07-18) (aged 88)
Occupation(s)Musician, singer
Instrument(s)Piano, guitar

Carline Ray (April 21, 1925 – July 18, 2013) was a jazz instrumentalist and vocalist. She was a member of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.


Carline Ray was born in Manhattan on April 21, 1925. Her father was Elisha Ray, a horn player.[1]

She entered Juilliard at age 16, graduating in 1946 after studying piano and composition. She earned a master's degree in voice from the Manhattan School of Music in 1956.[2]

After graduation from Juilliard, Ray joined the International Sweethearts of Rhythm as a rhythm guitar player and vocalist.[3] After the Sweethearts disbanded, Ray played guitar and sang for Erskine Hawkins and later performed in a trio with fellow former Sweetheart Pauline Braddy.[1] She sang back up for Patti Page and Bobby Darrin, and she performed in choruses conducted by Leonard Bernstein.[3] She recorded with Mary Lou Williams and also worked with Skitch Henderson, Marian McPartland, and Sy Oliver.[4] In 1997, Ray formed the group Jazzberry Jam with pianist Bertha Hope and percussionist Paula Hampton.

Ray married Luis Russell in 1956. Their daughter Catherine Russell is a jazz singer.[5]

She appears in the 2011 documentary film The Girls in the Band.[5] She released Vocal Sides, her first album as a lead singer, the year of her death. The album was produced by her daughter Catherine.[5]

Ray died on July 18, 2013, in Manhattan, following complications from a stroke.[3][6] A Catholic,[7] she was buried in November 2013 after a funeral service at St Peter's Catholic Church in Manhattan.[2][8]


  • Co-recipient of the first International Women In Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award, "A Living Legend" (1996)[9]
  • Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival Award (2005)[5]
  • International Women In Jazz Award (2008)[9]


  1. ^ a b Rye, Howard (2006). "Ray (Russell), Carline". In Larkin, Colin (ed.). Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Vol. 6 (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.J673500. ISBN 9780195313734. OCLC 70062973.
  2. ^ a b Scott, Ron (July 29, 2013). "Jazz Notes: Multi-instrumentalist and jazz activist Carline Ray dies at 88". New York Amsterdam News. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Yardley, William (July 27, 2013). "Carline Ray, an Enduring Pioneer Woman of Jazz, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  4. ^ Rye, Howard (2002). "Ray, Carline". In Kernfeld, Barry Dean (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Vol. 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.J673500. ISBN 9781561592845. OCLC 46956628.
  5. ^ a b c d Tamarkin, Jeff (July 19, 2013). "Carline Ray, Singer and Instrumentalist, Dies at 88". JazzTimes. Madavor Media. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  6. ^ "Biography: Carline Ray". AllMusic. n.d. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  7. ^ Simmermacher, Gunther (August 18, 2013). "Setting faith to music". The Southern Cross. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  8. ^ "Jazz Memorial for Carline Ray to Be Held at Saint Peter's Church, 11/18". Broadway World. November 12, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  9. ^ a b "Awards". International Women in Jazz. 2018. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved February 8, 2020.

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