Vocal Jazz

Jazz music community with review and forums

Probably the easiest genre to define of all as the title says it best. Obviously here is where you will find vocalists who sing in a distictive jazz style, or styles I should say because although there is a similarity of delivery in the jazz nuances of these listed singers, the performing era and genre style of singers you will find here ranges from Billy Holliday to Doris Day and on to Norah Jones.

vocal jazz top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

FRANK SINATRA Watertown Album Cover Watertown
FRANK SINATRA
4.91 | 4 ratings
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DIANA KRALL The Girl in the Other Room Album Cover The Girl in the Other Room
DIANA KRALL
5.00 | 2 ratings
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ROBERTA FLACK First Take Album Cover First Take
ROBERTA FLACK
5.00 | 2 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA Come Dance With Me! (with Billy May And His Orchestra) Album Cover Come Dance With Me! (with Billy May And His Orchestra)
FRANK SINATRA
4.63 | 7 ratings
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BOBBY MCFERRIN The Voice Album Cover The Voice
BOBBY MCFERRIN
4.75 | 2 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA My Way Album Cover My Way
FRANK SINATRA
4.55 | 4 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA A Swingin' Affair! Album Cover A Swingin' Affair!
FRANK SINATRA
4.58 | 3 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA Come Fly With Me Album Cover Come Fly With Me
FRANK SINATRA
4.48 | 5 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA It Might As Well Be Swing Album Cover It Might As Well Be Swing
FRANK SINATRA
4.67 | 2 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA Come Swing With Me! Album Cover Come Swing With Me!
FRANK SINATRA
4.52 | 3 ratings
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NORAH JONES Come Away With Me Album Cover Come Away With Me
NORAH JONES
4.40 | 6 ratings
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PEGGY LEE (VOCALS) Black Coffee With Peggy Lee Album Cover Black Coffee With Peggy Lee
PEGGY LEE (VOCALS)
4.50 | 2 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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vocal jazz Music Reviews

VAN MORRISON Van Morrison And Joey DeFrancesco ‎: You're Driving Me Crazy

Album · 2018 · Vocal Jazz
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Matt
Van Morrison has teamed up with organist and trumpeter Joey DeFrancesco and his band for his latest offering making this, his 39th album “Your Driving Me Crazy” with quite a few of the songs included from his extensive back catalogue and some Standards thrown in for good measure. Jazz is the theme for this latest album as the previous “Versatile” was and as we all know Van has covered just about every mainstream genre of music throughout his career including Rock, Blues, Country, Celtic and Folk thrown in for good measure and this could be one of the main reasons for his durability maintaining his popularity by keeping the variety coming. Joey DeFrancesco has been around for a while as well since 1989 with his first Hard Bop release “All Of Me” and since has garnered quite a bit of acclaim with plenty of albums since and has pretty much been playing music since he first started at four years of age.

The Cole Porter song “Miss Otis Regrets” get things started with more of a leaning towards the slower take that Ella Fitzgerald used with Joey DeFrancesco on organ and trumpet for this relaxed opening number. “Hold It Right There” is perhaps not a Jazz standard but more towards Jump Blues that Joe Williams and Eddie (Cleanhead) Vinson had previously released with Van giving it a bit of his own touch with the addition of great little sax solo from Troy Roberts from Joey’s band inserted. “All Saints Day” originally came out Van’s 1991 album “Hymns To The Silence” and like that one both takes are organ based. “The Way Young Lovers Do” from “Astral Weeks” is quite a different feel to the original being mainly guitar backed with this more Jazzed up with the Joey’s organ right behind Van. The title ‘”Your Driving Me Crazy” was originally done by Guy Lombardo with a later take from Sinatra but Van’s version seems to be his own with quite a lovely take for this old song. “Close Enough For Jazz” Van has already recorded twice prior but with the songs construction why not as it just sits beautifully with album’s theme. There is another go at “Have I Told You Lately” originally appearing on “Avalon Sunset” with other back catalogue numbers “Goldfish Bowl”, “Evening Shadows”, “Magic Time” and a few more Standards with the album finishing up lovely little take of “Celtic Swing” originally from the album “Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart”

Nice little album with some great vibes and vocals but perhaps some new material might have helped but still even with that moan it is quite a nice little groover to have on.

DAVE TULL Texting and Driving

Album · 2018 · Vocal Jazz
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js
One of the big differences between the world of pop vocals and jazz vocals is that while the pop artist tends to use his voice to express his own thoughts and feelings, the jazz artist quite often applies their voice to a ‘standard’ composed by someone else, and for good reason as many of these standards are of a high standard and it is hard for almost any vocalist to come up with something of similar caliber that is original. Up and coming jazz crooner Dave Tull, looks to be one to break that stereotype as his new album, “Texting and Driving”, is all original material that holds up well against any of the known standards.

Dave’s specialty is witty lyrics and this album is full of future classics that often contain ‘laugh-out-loud’ insights that will have you spinning these tunes over and over. The album’s title track is a good example as Dave lampoons the self-absorbed phone obsessive who feels compelled to share every moment of their life with the world. Tull has a wonderfully rapid diction and his witticisms come spilling out at a dizzying pace which only adds to the overall hilarity. Other gems include songs about modern parents who don’t mind their kids and conversations with people whose name you can’t seem to recall. On “The Date”, Tull shares the mic with Cheryl Bentyne as their enter-twining voices reveal conflicting opinions about a first date. Dave is a funny guy, but never glib or overly silly, fortunately this is not Al Yankovitch territory. Dave also doesn’t mind changing things up now and again with a true tale of romance, or a song dedicated to his own children.

Dave is often backed on here by a powerhouse big band, and just like the best albums by Sinatra and Oliver Nelson, nothing comps jazz vocals as well as a big band does. Dave is also an in demand drummer for many artists, and he mans the skins on this album too. I’m not sure if he was singing and playing at the same time on here, but that would be quite the impressive fete if he did.

JONI MITCHELL Hejira

Album · 1976 · Vocal Jazz
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progshine
Flashback: About 15 years ago it was not as easy as today, the internet world already existed and already gave all the signs of what the future would be like for music, but it still was not what it is today: a click and we heard a record...

So, my first real exposure to the music of Joni Mitchell was with what I could lay my hands on: and it was the 'Dog Eat Dog' album that I accidentally found in a second hand shop in the center of São Paulo for less than a dollar.

Well, now I know that this is not even close the best way to know Joni's music, Dog Eat Dog is pretty bad.

Back to the present. A few days ago I was watching for the second time the documentary Jaco and she appeared there talking about the album Hejira (in which Jaco Pastorius plays), and suddenly I remembered how much I love her music and that I had not yet heard Hejira.

Joni Mitchell has always been a goddess as a songwriter, her way of playing the guitar (with several different tunings) open new melodies and her compositions gain an even more original air. It's no different in Hejira. This record sounds so modern and up to date, even today. It fits in with Jazz Fusion, which had been developed a few years prior and was about to open doors with names like Weather Report, Return to Forever and Al Di Meola, but it is also Folk and it works, very well!

Hejira is a pleasure to hear from beginning to end and worth the hearing.

TAL COHEN Tal Cohen & Danielle Wertz : Intertwined

Album · 2017 · Vocal Jazz
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Carmel
The voice of an angel, supported by an able and crafty pianist is what you will get when listening to Intertwined, joined on tracks “Beautiful Love,” and “Autumn Leaves,” by saxophonist Jamie Oehlers, the trio, which is mostly a duo, have created a deliciously engaging offering.

Why is it special you ask? This answer is found in Wertz voice, she has a pure and crystalline tone, each word is given meaning. As a listener, I found myself constantly being entranced by her voice. Unlike many of her contemporaries there is truth in her voice, it’s not prattled with theatrics, or acrobatics, hers is a voice that just speaks through beauty, as if each word is like honey dripping from her lips. Many of the vocalists that are so long lasting in our minds, exhibit these same qualities, it is their ability to honestly convey the lyric that is so appealing. Though young in age, Wertz is matured in her delivery, rounded in her ideas, and savory in her lines.

Fine examples of this are exhibited on tunes like “Beautiful Love,” opened by saxophonist Jamie Oehlers, whose tone is refined and unaffected. Augmented by pianist Tal Cohen, the three work through the nuances of the tune, with hits and accents that embellish the lyric with interest. Wertz uses her voice as a vehicle that conveys the lyric, but also as a unified instrument contributing to the overall success of the track.

The title track “Intertwined,” is a wordless melody that Wertz works with the dynamics of her voice, just as a horn in a duo setting. She opens and closes her voice and uses swells to create useful texture changes, passages and solo lines with pianist Tal Cohen, which I might add are very effective. The two meld as a perfect instrument of song. Many times, with duo recordings, you find yourself noticing the spaces a bit too much. Cohen’s colorizations support and add interest and Wertz interacts with seamless resolve.

A bit father into the program we stop at “Manhattan in the Rain,” a moody reflective piece written by Duncan Lamont. Wertz’ delicate treatment is convincing, while Cohen creates a canvas of beautiful flowing lines, almost like a windy day with raining streams. You can hear the smile and joy in Wertz voice as the blossom of love, is in the air.

Overall, Intertwined is a delightful intertwining of what is best about young artists. Untarnished by the politics of music, what is brought forth is pure, innocent and simply beautiful. The promise of the moment, and being able to be free enough to live it, in the moment. This is a lasting work for a debut offering, and certainly it makes sense why Wertz was semi-finalists in the 2015 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition. She certainly has won me over.

SHERRI ROBERTS Anybody’s Spring

Album · 2017 · Vocal Jazz
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Carmel
Can Spring be an eternal feeling, it can when its sung by vocalist Sherri Roberts. Her latest offering in a string of well-conceived albums is entitled Anbody’s Spring, and it does Spring eternal, with a bounce and a swing that will put an extra step in your day. Bouncy, full of lilt and firmly rooted in the jazz idiom, Roberts performs tunes that are a delightful foray of time-tested standards and Broadway classics.

A little background on Sherri’s discography. She has four recordings as a leader and her fifth, Anybody’s Spring, is accompanied by a bi-coastal ensemble, of Harvie S on bass, David Udolf on piano, Akira Tana on drums and Sheryl Bailey on guitar. Released in March of 2017 at the equinox, this newest recording is among a collection of standout recordings as follows: 2013’s Lovely Days, a duo session showcasing pianist Bliss Rodriguez and three collaborations with renowned bassist Harvie S: The Sky Could Send You (2006), Dreamsville (1998), Twilight World (1996).

So, let’s get into the blossom. The title track “Anybody’s Spring,” begins the journey, the nostalgic sound of Roberts voice has a certain authenticity that transports you to a time when jazz was aplenty. Her voice is unaffected and clean, delivering a ringing truth of the lyrics. Udolf and S create a mid-tempo, deep swinging feel, with Tana laying down a soft, yet effective swing that allows vocalist Roberts to float atop.

Continuing through the program, I found myself stopping at “They Say Its Spring,” Roberts shines on this tune in particular, her relaxed matter of fact vocal style fits nicely, like a pair of your best Sunday gloves, her voice sparkles and shimmers. The supportive ensemble is sensitive and not overpowering, while creating a solid solo section that is both engaging and finely tuned.

A ballad closes out the offering with “Spring Isn’t Everything,” a witty twist on the season, the lyric is brought to an effervescence with Roberts loveliness. Her voice is round and she laments Spring with purity and truly captures the merit of the lyric, written by Ralph Blane and Harry Warren, and made famous by Margaret Whiting who recorded the tune in February of 1947 with Frank DeVol and his Orchestra, Roberts gives this tune a proper reading with sincere reverence.

A delight from start to finish, Anybody’s Spring is an evergreen beauty, meant to be savored no matter the season. An album I intend to visit often myself.

vocal jazz movie reviews

JONI MITCHELL Shadows And Light

Movie · 1980 · Vocal Jazz
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Slartibartfast
Joni Mitchell meets The Pat Metheny Group.

What can I say? This was my real introduction into the music of Joni and what a place to start! She had really entered a new phase and the tracks offered span from Court And Spark up to Mingus (and of course, the song Shadows And Light, exclusive to the live album).

The concert was an outdoors affair at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. The liner notes say that "this concert catches Joni at the height of her artistic excellence." Having explored her albums after and before this era, I can wholeheartedly agree with that. Jaco Pastorius, who had a reputation at that point of being erratic in live situations, seems to be in a good mode. The camera work is good and the concert is now available on DVD with 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio all of which make for a show worthy of revisiting from time to time.

Artists with Vocal Jazz release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

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