A blues belter in the classic tradition, Carrie Smith was born August 25, 1941, in Fort Gaines, GA. Despite making her debut at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival while a member of a New Jersey church choir, she did not truly emerge on the jazz circuit until the early '70s, in the company of Big "Tiny" Little. In November of 1974, Smith's riveting performance as Bessie Smith (no relation) in Dick Hyman's Carnegie Hall production of Satchmo Remembered brought her fame throughout the international musical community. Soon, she began touring as a solo act, and in a short time began recording as well; still, despite subsequent performances in conjunction with the New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra, Tyree Glenn, and the World's Greatest Jazz Band, Smith remained little more than a cult figure in the U.S., proving better received in Europe. While rooted firmly in the blues and gospel, she was a singer of considerable range and depth, as recordings like 1976's Do Your Duty and the following year's When You're Down and Out prove; despite never earning significant success, she remained an active figure both on-stage and in the studio through the 1990s.