The 50 Best Jazz Singers Of All Time

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Ridin'High, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. Ridin'High

    Ridin'High Forum Resident Thread Starter


    Published last month, here is the latest list claiming to contain the very best jazz vocalists to have ever populated the universe. It is actually one of several lists of "best musicians" from UDiscoverMusic.

    What says you? Glaring omissions? Singers who shouldn't be there? Folks who shouldn't be called jazz singers? An artist who shouldn't rank so high or so low?

    (My general comment, or "disclaimer" ... No list of this type can possibly satisfy anyone in full, except perhaps -- just perhaps -- the person who created it. I do like that this one offers music clips, though. We can at least sample any artist who might be unfamiliar to us. That having been said, a few of the chosen clips do more harm than good, because they do not showcase the given singers at their best. And a few other clips are readily available in better prints ...)
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
    ando here likes this.
  2. PRW94

    PRW94 Forum Resident

    The Southeast
    Easy, Ella's hero and role model Connee Boswell is missing. So is Lee Wiley.
    danasgoodstuff likes this.
  3. George P

    George P Smellin' Like A Rose

    Ruth Brown isn't on there. And to me, Billie should have been #1.
  4. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident

    Lots of omissions.

    Some of the more recent singers listed will never have the cultural impact of their predecessors, so I question the logic of their inclusion.
  5. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Forum Resident

    I never get statements like this... How can you possibly know who will be influenced by whom? How far into the future does one need to look?
  6. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident

    Because jazz ceased being a cultural force decades ago. The biggest splash jazz has made in recent decades has been via sampling by hip hop and electronica artists.
    ParloFax likes this.
  7. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Forum Resident

    Personally, I feel that Hip Hop IS jazz... "Jazz" is not just some Post WW2 music based on tin pan alley songs. That is simply what it got labeled as at one point in time and that label stuck.

    Jazz really is about taking aspects of a thing or many things and making it something else, musically. So from my perspective, "Jazz" has never stopped being a cultural force. It's not the museum music people think it is or should be...
  8. ATR

    ATR Forum Resident

    Probably no Jeanne Lee or Sheila Jordan.
  9. Criminal not to have Jimmy Witherspoon on the last - I'd put 'Spoon in the 10-20s range, easily...
    Sneaky Pete and danasgoodstuff like this.
  10. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident

    OK. I feel that hip hop is hip hop.
    ParloFax and danasgoodstuff like this.
  11. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Forum Resident

    I have a friend who's a "jazz" singer who sounds incredibly like Sheila Jordan - and had never heard of her. Strange thing is, she's been singing for decades... I had a hard time believing it.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  12. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Forum Resident

    Yeah... I know.
  13. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident

    As a hip hop fan, I think it is disrespectful to not allow it it's own genre.
  14. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Forum Resident

    You do get that the above was a metaphorical description, right? While I choose to look at music however I want to, it's honestly not that serious...
  15. John Moschella

    John Moschella Forum Resident

    Christiansburg, VA
    So you expand the definition of a jazz singer to include Sinatra, but no Tony Bennett? Doesn't make much sense to me. Bennett sang more jazz than Sinatra. I don't think either of them should be on the list, but its just not consistent.
  16. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident

    Yes I do, and I stand by my original statement.
  17. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Tone singers sound the same on every song but great tone? Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett.

    Personality singer?
    Dean Martin

    Dynamic/ Swing / vocalist ( jazz feel)
    Frank Sinatra
  18. Bender Rodriguez

    Bender Rodriguez RIP Exene, best dog ever. 2005-2016

    New Jersey
    Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra are jazz singers?
    Sneaky Pete likes this.
  19. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Sinatra? Not really..but he does sing on the off beat, tricky.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  20. Thermionic Dude

    Thermionic Dude Forum Resident

    Lots of omissions for sure, but they were wise enough to include Gregory Porter (I agree 100% that he will likely be seen as one of the best ever at some point) and Mark Murphy (one of the coolest guys to ever stand in front of a mic) so I won't complain too much!
    Bobby Boogaloo likes this.
  21. Roger Thornhill

    Roger Thornhill Forum Resident

    Ilford, Essex, UK
    Nope. Nor Norma Winstone.
  22. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    Hip Hop is NOT Jazz. Saying that you think it is does not make it so. Hip Hop is basically unlistenable (to me).
    Jazz while freeform to some extent, is actually music.
  23. zen

    zen Forum Resident

  24. Bill D

    Bill D Well-Known Member

    I'd rate Johnny Hartman and Anita O'Day in the top 10. His voice was one of the most beautiful instruments in music history, and she just oozed soul and vulnerability.

    Annie Ross belongs somewhere on the list, despite being most famous for Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross.

    I would also add Eddie Jefferson who did some great vocalese versions of hard bop tunes in the 60s and 70s. Killer version of "So What."

    Finally, and probably a choice that some would laugh at, I would add Bob Dorough. His voice was not sexy or beautiful, but he sung with such heartfelt abandon and brought such a sense of fun that I'm putting him on there. Check out his Devil May Care album from the late '50s and try not to smile.
    Jazzmonkie likes this.
  25. mwheelerk

    mwheelerk If you fly a flag of hate you ain't no kin to me

    This has not been a real strong area of interest for me but I am pleased that I have albums by 20 of the artists mentioned.

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