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Susannah McCorkle

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Biography

One of the finest interpreters of lyrics active in the jazz world during the 1980s and '90s, Susannah McCorkle did not improvise all that much, but she brought the proper emotional intensity to the words she sang; a lyricist's dream. She moved to England in 1971 where she worked with Dick Sudhalter and Keith Ingham, among others, performing at concerts with such visiting Americans as Bobby Hackett, Ben Webster, and Dexter Gordon. McCorkle sang at the Riverboat jazz room in Manhattan during 1975 (gaining a lot of attention) and recorded two albums in England (tributes to Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer) that were released domestically by Inner City. By 1980, she was back in the U.S., recording a Yip Harburg set and a fourth album for Inner City. After that label folded, McCorkle switched over to Pausa but by the late '80s was recording regularly for Concord. She expanded her pre-bop repertoire to include Brazilian songs and blues and, by the mid-'90s, Susannah McCorkle was at the top of her field. Tragically, career disappointments exacerbated her chronic depression (a condition she kept well-hidden), resulting in her suicide in May of 2001 in New York City. ~ Scott Yanow
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