Vocal Jazz

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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

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
4.91 | 6 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA Watertown Album Cover Watertown
FRANK SINATRA
4.91 | 4 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA Come Fly With Me Album Cover Come Fly With Me
FRANK SINATRA
4.86 | 3 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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BOBBY MCFERRIN The Voice Album Cover The Voice
BOBBY MCFERRIN
4.98 | 2 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA A Swingin' Affair! Album Cover A Swingin' Affair!
FRANK SINATRA
4.82 | 3 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA My Way Album Cover My Way
FRANK SINATRA
4.82 | 3 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA It Might As Well Be Swing Album Cover It Might As Well Be Swing
FRANK SINATRA
4.95 | 2 ratings
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TEODORA ENACHE Rădăcini: Back to My Roots Album Cover Rădăcini: Back to My Roots
TEODORA ENACHE
5.00 | 1 ratings
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FRANKIE LAINE Jazz Spectacular (with Buck Clayton And His Orchestra Featuring J. J. Johnson And Kai Winding) Album Cover Jazz Spectacular (with Buck Clayton And His Orchestra Featuring J. J. Johnson And Kai Winding)
FRANKIE LAINE
5.00 | 1 ratings
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HARRY CONNICK JR Come by Me Album Cover Come by Me
HARRY CONNICK JR
5.00 | 1 ratings
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HARRY CONNICK JR My New Orleans Album Cover My New Orleans
HARRY CONNICK JR
5.00 | 1 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

LEON THOMAS Spirits Known and Unknown

Album · 1969 · Vocal Jazz
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Sean Trane
From what I know, SKAU is Thomas’s debut album, but also easily his best (IMHO), at least to the jazzheads into the Pharoah galaxy. Indeed, most, if not all, of Sanders’ band is present on the present, from the luscious piano of Liston to Cecil’s instantly recognizable bass and Spaulding’s typical flute, and even on one track, the master plays under the Little Rock alias.

Opening on a version of Pharoah’s Creator Has A Master Plan with Spaulding’s delightful flute, SKAU announces a certain musical softness that won’t always be confirmed by the lyrics throughout the album. These lyrics contrast with Leon Thomas’ soft crooner voice that sometimes shows his signature goaty-yodel, like in the following One (a live track, apparently) where some fast-scatting also appears among some wild arrangements. Echoes first opens on Spaulding’s flute that are shortly echoed by Thomas’ own, before he takes the mike. The track goes from soft to involved to return on the soft side, and certain dynamics (mainly flutes and percussions) can remind of Sun Ra. Closing the A-side is a version of Horace Silver’s Song For My Father, but obviously very much updated to fit the late 60’s moods. The flipside opens with the protest Damn Nam, which has echoes of Gill Scott-Heron, though this almost predates it. The lengthy Malcolm’s Gone is the centrepiece of the album, and has chaotic echoes of Tyner and Trane. The cover of Let Rain Fall On Me closes the album on a soft crooning note

The album comes with three bonus tracks, two of which come from a Fillmore East concert from the fall of the next year, both taken from an SNCC’s Rapalbum. The third track is a wild cover of Dizzy’s Night In Tunisia. I’m generally not a sung-jazz fan, but I must say that Leon Thomas is one of the singers that reconciles me with the “vocal jazz/crooner” genre, but it’s also partly because of who plays on this album, and the era in which it was recorded in. Indeed, Pharoah’s band in 69 was one of the last interesting places in jazz not heading to the JR/F direction, and they’re all present here, despite a less-extreme approach. A fairly good album that can be stocked close to your “new thing” section in your collection.

MONICA ZETTERLUND Waltz For Debby (with Bill Evans)

Album · 1964 · Vocal Jazz
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Amilisom
Not to be confused with the live Village Vanguard recording of Bill Evans by the same name, "Waltz For Debby" is a one-time collaboration between Swedish vocalist Monica Zetterlund and the Bill Evans Trio of 1964 (consisting of drummer Larry Bunker and bassist Chuck Israels). Zetterlund became proud of this album above her others, saying it was "the best I've done".

It's an album to be proud of. She doesn't sound as professional or virtuosic a vocalist as some of the big names out there, but despite this her voice is a nice addition to the piano style of Bill Evans, giving this album a very nice cool-jazz atmosphere. Because of this, the highlights of the album are the ballads, "Some Other Time" being a prime nomination of mine. For Bill Evans, this album allowed for a nice accessible and minimalistic contrast from his other albums with the current trio. He solos on only a few of the tracks, a fact that can be a little disappointing for listeners of his. But the solos he plays here are actually well done. Unlike other recordings with this trio his solos here are shorter and more under control, allowing for more melodic contour.

In addition to the jazz tunes Zetterlund sings what I'm assuming to be Swedish folk tunes on this album, being "Jag Vet en Dejlig Rosa (Beautiful Rose)", "Vindarna Sucka (Sorrow Wind)", and "Om Natten (In The Night)". Each of these melodies have a dark, ethereal feel to them, something that the group does a really great job of creating a cool atmosphere for. I consider them to be the superior points on the album.

Of course, as the title implies, the Bill Evans tune "Waltz For Debby" is on this album. Here Zetterlund sings Swedish lyrics to it. Although there aren't any solos played on it, the group makes it interesting by changing the feel from the spacious 3/4 waltz it starts as to the quarter-note-triplet feel in 4/4 and back.

Overall I would say this is one of the better Bill Evans recordings I have heard with Israels and Bunker. Playing with Monica Zetterlund was a good choice.

PAT METHENY Upojenie (with Anna Maria Jopek)

Boxset / Compilation · 2008 · Vocal Jazz
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snobb
Probably even devoted Pat Metheny fans have never heard about this album. Originally recorded in 2002 in Poland, and released in Poland and the Far East only, until 2008 it was the best kept secret from the rest of the world.

Originally considered a release by Polish diva Anna Maria Jopek, in 2008 it was reissued by Nonesuch under Pat Metheny's name. Anna Maria Jopek is an excellent Polish artist, not a very strong jazz vocalist, but a soulful singer, beautiful woman and she has strong artistic appeal. "Upojenje"("Extasy") was recorded soon after Anna met Pat Metheny at a European jazz festival. Reworking some old Metheny compositions (and adding Polish lyrics), plus some of Anna's songs and a few more modernised Polish folk songs, this album represents that rare and strange magic you very often can't describe.

After the few very first Metheny albums, I lost interest in his polished straight-ahead fusion, world tunes and easy-listening contemporary jazz albums. His rare experimental albums sounded even less interesting, yet here on this work with the Polish diva, I find what he does best: combining his tunes and nice lyrical musicianship with pop-jazz/adult-pop vocals, plus soulful Eastern European folk-fusion and melodies. On this CD Pat demonstrates the best formula I have heard from him yet.

With support from leading Polish jazz musicians (incl. pianist Leszek Mozdzer) and known world fusion percussionist Mino Cinelu, this long album sounds pleasant, but very far from being boring (the international version is even longer - it contains 3 bonus tracks, 17 songs at all).

Don't expect the usual Pat Metheny fusion from this release though - dreamy soulful jazz-influenced Eastern European songs (sounding very modern) are what you'll find here. If you like stylish jazzy adult-pop vocal songs and are interested in hearing unusual sounding classic Metheny compositions - find this album, you won't be disappointed.

NINA SIMONE The Diva Series

Boxset / Compilation · 2003 · Vocal Jazz
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jazzoh
This album was for me the first ever Jazz CD I bought and simply based on the beautiful cover art. Well, the series by Verve is definately a good buy and a great way to build a jazz-vocal library. The fact that some are live performances makes this album even more interesting and it gives an insight in what was going on in the time of Nina's life and the history of the U.S.A. Listening to this album you get the feeling as if Nina is singing live in your own livingroom. I would say that all the best songs are on the album, but that is something depending on the knowledge you have of Nina's discography. For me there are a few that stand out: Mississippi Goddam, Don't You Pay Them No Mind, I Put A Spell On You & Wild Is The Wind. If you're still a beginning jazz lover, buy the diva series! If you are a fan of Nina, and you don't have this album in your collection yet, you should buy it today. Verve has shown real excellence with this compilation!

ANNETTE PEACOCK I'm the One

Album · 1972 · Vocal Jazz
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Sean Trane
Annette’s discography is a pretty unusual and eclectic one, ranging from jazz to rock realms (or should I say Blues-rock) and this seminal 70’s release is one of the more extreme of her albums that I’m aware of. Despite some typical jazz names on the roster (hubby Bley and Stu Woods, just to name those), this album is definitely more of a blues affair, but the pictures in the reissued Cd’s booklet would indicate more of a rock attitude as some of these pics of her are very raw/baren and there is little doubt of Annette’s sensuality in her fairly undressed attires. If I speak of the rock idiom, it’s because there is a fair bit of electric guitar ((Tom Cosgrove) and some electric bass (Glenn Moore on Blood), but some electric keyboards as well (organ and synths) as well.

Certainly the album opening title track is one of the more challenging tracks and the least bluesiest of all, but if you listen behind the melodic bizarreries, you’ll definitely hear it. Most of the following tracks are also blues, sometimes a bit disguised (the excellent 6-mins+ Pony) and sometimes very traditional (the short Been & Gone). Nowhere is the hard-line more audible than on the 6-mins full electric One Way track, which could be on a Savoy Brown or Chicken Shack album. Unfortunately, the mood is directly broken with the extremely-weird (but not pleasantly so) Elvis Love Me Tender cover, which is sandwiched on the other side by the extreme Without Plot and its negligible afterthought Did You Hear Me Mommy?.

Despite Annette’s undeniable jazz affiliation, don’t look for much (or any) of it in the present album, but it’s also a fairly good hint of what kind of musical crea tions she would indulge in the following 10 years. Hardly essential, unless you lust after Annette’s then-generous features and voice.

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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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