Austin, Claire [Augusta ]
- Floyd Levin
(b Yakima, WA, Nov 21, 1918; d Willits, CA, June 17, 1994). American singer. Interested in music from an early age, she studied piano and dancing in high school and sang in school and church choirs. At the age of 18 she became a professional singer, working in clubs in Washington, Oregon, and California, and during the war years she also performed in Cincinnati and Chicago. Turk Murphy discovered her during an appearance at the Clayton Club in Sacramento in 1951, and a year later she was invited to sing at Murphy’s opening at the Italian Village in San Francisco. She became an overnight sensation in the city and commuted from Sacramento on weekends to appear with the band. Her initial recordings with Murphy’s Jazz Band in April 1952 attracted national attention and added impetus to the dixieland jazz revival. After leaving Murphy in 1952, Austin, a mother of three children, did not appear professionally until ...