Mary AnnMcCall

Mary Ann McCall

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A jazz vocalist with a bluesy tone, Mary Ann McCall never stayed anywhere for very long. She worked for Woody Herman in 1939, but by the end of the year she’d joined Charlie Barnet’s orchestra, leaving the band in 1940. She sang with Tommy Reynolds’ orchestra in late 1940. After departing Reynolds, she appeared on Philadelphia radio station WCAU in August 1942 and in October joined Billy Marshall’s society orchestra at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. She left Marshall in early March 1943 to sing with Reynolds again but by the end of the month she’d rejoined Barnet. She retired from singing soon after.

In late 1946, McCall returned to the music business, joining Herman’s Herd again. She left in early 1947, remaining with Herman’s Columbia label as part of their increase in popular jazz waxings, where she often worked with the Ralph Burns Orchestra. In early 1948, she returned to Herman’s band again, staying into mid-1949. While still a member of the Herd in early 1949 she recorded solo on the Discovery label.

McCall married Jimmy Dorsey trumpeter Jimmy Blake in 1940 and Herman tenor sax player and arranger Lou Cohn in 1949. In the 1950s, she recorded several albums under her own name, working with such artists as Charlie Ventura, Teddy Charles, the Phil Moore Orchestra, and the Ernie Wilkins Orchestra. She developed a serious heroin habit in 1949, eventually losing her home before being arrested in San Francisco on possession of narcotics in 1953.

McCall retired from the music business in the 1960s as work become more sporadic. In 1987, she came out of retirement to perform at a Woody Herman tribute concert just a few days before the bandleader’s death. Mary Ann McCall passed away in 1994, age 75.


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  • Big Wig in the Wigwam
    Woody Herman (Mary Ann McCall), Decca (1939)
  • It's a Wonderful World
    Charlie Barnet (Mary Ann McCall), Bluebird (1940)
  • Where Was I?
    Charlie Barnet (Mary Ann McCall), Bluebird (1940)
  • You Got Me Voodoo'd
    Charlie Barnet (Mary Ann McCall), Bluebird (1940)
  • You Can Depend on Me
    Mary Ann McCall, Regent (1956)

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  • After You've Gone
    "After You've Gone"
    Mary Ann McCall

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  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. “Movie Views and Reviews.” Reading Eagle [Reading, PA] 22 Sep. 1939: 21.
  3. Hendrickson, Verna. “Dorothy Maynor Recording Made.” Berkeley Daily Gazette 19 Dec. 1939: 8.
  4. Fidler, Jimmie. “Hollywood Shots.” Reading Eagle [Reading, PA] 27 Nov. 1940: 6.
  5. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 29 Aug. 1942: 27.
  6. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 31 Oct. 1942: 23.
  7. “Night Club Reviews.” Billboard 14 Nov. 1942: 12.
  8. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 6 Mar. 1943: 23.
  9. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 27 Mar. 1943: 23.
  10. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 16 Nov. 1946: 27.
  11. “Col's Pop Jazz to Use Cab Ork.” Billboard 26 Apr. 1947: 19.
  12. “On the Stand: Woody Herman.” Billboard 8 May. 1948: 44.
  13. “Music as Written.” Billboard 22 Jan. 1949: 20.
  14. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 5 Feb. 1949: 34.
  15. “Herman Outfit to Play at Nat.” Spokane Daily Chronicle 24 Aug. 1949: 16.
  16. “Torch Singer Says Reach for Gun Instead of Heroin.” The Telegraph [Nashua, NH] 6 May 1953: 1.

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