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|Birth name||Liza Mae Alix|
August 31, 1902|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||November 1, 1983(aged 81)|
|Associated acts||Jimmie Noone, Ollie Powers|
Liza Mae "May" Alix (August 31, 1902 in Chicago, Illinois - November 1, 1983) was an American cabaret and jazz vocalist.
She began performing as a teenager in local cabarets and night spots after winning a talent contest. Alix’s Chicago venues included, the Apex Club, DeLuxe 400 Lounge, Club DeLisa, and the Sunset Club. She career as a singer took off when she performed with the Jimmie Noone band in the clubs of Chicago. Soon she joined Ollie Powers as a duo performing in cabarets. In 1926, she recorded with Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five. One of the recordings, "Big Butter and Egg Man," became Armstrong's first chart hit. She collaborated with Jimmie Noone on half a dozen recordings for Vocalion Records (1929–1930) including “Ain’t Misbehavin”, "My Daddy Rocks Me", and "Birmingham Bertha/Am I Blue?". During the 1930s and early 1940s, she performed mainly in New York City but her fame spread to Los Angeles and Parisian night clubs. Alix also worked with bandleaders Luis Russell, Carroll Dickerson, and Duke Ellington.
Jazz singer Alberta Hunter sometimes recorded under the name "May Alix", with the permission of the real May Alix. The two singers were friends, and Hunter thought the switch might help her friend's career, as well as get Hunter out of exclusive recording contracts. In the 1940s "[Alex] was often billed as "The Queen of the Splits," a name that could have originated with the moves she made on-stage, a skill at getting out of clubs quickly when the show was over, or maybe because she was "splitting" the use of her name with Hunter."
She married and eventually divorced from her pianist and songwriter husband, Warley Asher. She retired from the business in 1941.
- Bracks, Lean’tin and Smith, Jessie. Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014
- "May Alix".
- Komara, Edward (Ed.) (2006), Encyclopedia of the Blues, Routledge
- May Alix on allmusic.com
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