Carla White, 55, a critically acclaimed jazz singer whose voice has been described as "smoky," "sultry" and "sexy," died of cancer May 9 at her home in New York City.
White, who launched her solo career in 1985, was described by jazz critic Don Heckman in The Times in 1997 as "a singer who blends interpretive intelligence with a solid musical grounding and a sure sense of swing."
Born in Oakland and raised in Bellport, N.Y., on Long Island, White completed two years at the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London before returning to New York in the early 1970s. She studied jazz with pianist-composer Lennie Tristano and later with saxophonist Warne Marsh.
Originally focused on scat singing, according to her website, White established her first band, a bebop quintet with trumpeter Manny Duran, and recorded an album, "Andruline," on the Stash Records label. After launching her career as a solo artist, she made her first album for Milestone Records, "Orient Express."