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Jazz Vocalists - Top 5 Recordings


blind-blake
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I'm just starting to get into jazz vocalists, and I'd like to explore some of the better recordings. I thought that this list thing might be a good way to get some input. Here are my 5:

Anita O'Day - Anita Sings the Most

Billie Holiday - Complete Verve Masters

Dinah Washington - Dinah Jams

Shirley Horn - You Won't Forget Me

Peggy Lee - Black Coffee

Thanks in advance!

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Here are a few more, the list may not be "well-informed" only because I'm not a huge follower of jazz vocals... but these four I find extraordinary. All of Jeanne's and Patty's work is major, of course.

Sheila Jordan - Portrait of Sheila

Patty Waters - You Thrill Me

Jeanne Lee w/ Ran Blake - The Newest Sound Around

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

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Nat "King" Cole Trio - perhaps the old Capitol single CD compilation comprising the "best" of the vocal performances

Billie Holiday - the Columbia 2-disc set culled from the Columbia boxed set

Mel Torme - Swings Shubert Alley

Sarah Vaughan - Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown

Joe Williams - Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings

Ella Fitzgerald is conspicuously absent from this list, but I am not sure which single CD of hers I would recommend to the uninitiated.

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I was rather taken by Devorah Day's Light of Day a few years back, but it doesn't seem that that many others were. But hey.

Strong Seconds on the Patty Waters You Thrill Me disc as well. Some of that stuff is as cut-to-the-quick real as it can get.

Sarah Vaughn - Swingin' Easy This is what Sarah did, done about as well and as unencumbered as she ever did it save for maybe some of those Musicraft sides.

Billie - All Or Nothing At All At the end of the day, this is the one I keep coming back to.

The fifth? Whatever is handy (and right) at the time, when the time comes, if it does. some good people already mentioned, too many others not to narrow it down to just one.

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Chris Connor is my favourite. Try either/both of

Chris Craft

A jazz date with Chris Connor

Those two used to be available as one twofer CD (superb coupling) on Rhino. Not sure if it's still around.

Chris in person (Live at the Village Vanguard)

Etta Jones sings Buddy Johnson (HighNote) Johnson was THE greatest jazzman/songwriter and this is a fitting tribute to him.

For stuff that's raunchy and Ram-Bunk-Shush, funny and funky, and swings like hell, try Irene Reid

Million $ secret

The uptown lowdown

I ain't doin' too bad

All 3 are on Savant, and backed up by the Charles Earland band with Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, Greg Rockingham and (mostly) Bob DeVos. This is very, very chitlin' circuit jazz singing NOT Village Vanguard jazz singing.

MG

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Does it all have to be women?

Among my favorites are Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Fats Waller and Ray Nance.

I just don't get Johnny Hartman any longer. Puts me to sleep.

I LOVE Helen Merrill, I LOVE Una Mae Carlisle, I LOVE Carmen McRae. I LOVE Peggy Lee. I LOVE June Christy. I really like Jeri Southern.

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I love jazz vocals and they come in many forms.

Most of the above are favourites but here are three very different takes:

Betty Carter - to my mind, the ultimate 'jazz' singer. She does vocally what the instrumentalists do intrumentally.

Andy Bey - blokes don't seem to handle jazz vocal as well as women (to my taste, anyway); Andy is an exception.

Norma Winstone - jazz vocals exported, reshaped and turned into something very different. My favourite.

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I would also like to recommend the following five albums:

1) Tony Bennett - The Tony Bennett Bill Evans Album

2) Hoagy Carmichael - Hoagy Sings Carmichael (Pacific Jazz)

3) Helen Carr - The Complete Bethlehem Collection

4) Bing Crosby - Bing with a Beat

5) Billy Eckstine - Billy's Best!

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Nat "King" Cole Trio - perhaps the old Capitol single CD compilation comprising the "best" of the vocal performances

Billie Holiday - the Columbia 2-disc set culled from the Columbia boxed set

Mel Torme - Swings Shubert Alley

Sarah Vaughan - Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown

Joe Williams - Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings

Ella Fitzgerald is conspicuously absent from this list, but I am not sure which single CD of hers I would recommend to the uninitiated.

Yes, it is strange how little Ella Fitzgerald there is here.

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Nat "King" Cole Trio - perhaps the old Capitol single CD compilation comprising the "best" of the vocal performances

Billie Holiday - the Columbia 2-disc set culled from the Columbia boxed set

Mel Torme - Swings Shubert Alley

Sarah Vaughan - Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown

Joe Williams - Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings

Ella Fitzgerald is conspicuously absent from this list, but I am not sure which single CD of hers I would recommend to the uninitiated.

Yes, it is strange how little Ella Fitzgerald there is here.

I think that Ella Fitzgerald's best album might be the 3-CD set, Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book. One can still purchase four of Ella's 2-CD song book sets (Sings the Cole Porter Song Book, Sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book, Sings the Harold Arlen Song Book, and Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book - I am partial to the Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart sets) from BMG Music Club for good prices. As noted in the BMG Music Club thread, one can presently get three 2-CD sets for the price of only shipping and handling by using the code D8E1, and this code can be used multiple times.

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Since Live at the Great American Music Hall is OOP, this one is great Carmen McRae, as are all of the recordings done at Sugar Hill:

51qrGmG0qPL._SS500_.jpg

This is the LP that turned me on to Carmen 40+ years ago. I recently discovered that there are two more albums from the same session, both issued on Mainstream years later.

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