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
4.83 | 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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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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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 Oh, My NOLA  (aka My New Orleans) Album Cover Oh, My NOLA (aka My New Orleans)
HARRY CONNICK JR
5.00 | 1 ratings
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MICHAEL BUBLÉ It's Time Album Cover It's Time
MICHAEL BUBLÉ
5.00 | 1 ratings
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vocal jazz Music Reviews

JANET KLEIN Come Into My Parlor

Album · 1998 · Vocal Jazz
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siLLy puPPy
JANET KLEIN was raised in San Bernadino, CA and was mostly exposed to classical music and even some Frank Zappa, but she found her own niche in a totally different world. She decided to take up the ukelele and resurrect the obscure, the lovely and the naughty songs of the 1910s, 20s and 30s. She considers herself a musical archeologist and goes as far as to immerse herself completely in that particular era by adopting a cut bob haircut with a flower placed just so as well as copping only the strictest vintage fashion statements. In fact, if i didn’t know better i’d swear she was the victim of a strange wormhole accident from the past and got transported her almost 100 years later from a cabaret stage in some American hole-in-the-wall speakeasy. Her dedication to the period is admirable as she avoids all the kitsch that can be associated with such novelty acts. In this regard she has done her homework and gets an A+ on her report card for an outstanding resurrection of the forgotten vocal jazz of yestercentury. Only the Squirrel Nut Zippers have achieved such the honor of this scope by keeping it real without making it tawdry.

COME TO MY PARLOR is her debut album that emerged in 1998 when a whole host of swing revival bands were hitting the scene, but JANET KLEIN opted for simplicity on this debut. While she would venture into more of a band setting by adopting “…And Her Parlor Boys” on her second album “Paradise Wobbler,” here it is essential a one-woman show displaying JANET’s knack for playing long forgotten songs on her customized ukelele and sounding like an innocent old-fashioned girl from the Great Depression era of America. On a few songs JANET is accompanied by John Reynolds on guitar who happens to be the grandson of the silent film actress ZaSu Pitts. Overall this is a charming little album with one period song after another and i really like the fragile innocence JANET exhibits on these tracks but i have to admit that i prefer the fuller band sound of the second album a bit more as well as the track selections. The songs are just catchier beginning with “Paradise Wobbler.” Despite all that this is still a nice little debut that will surely catch the hearts of those for a nostalgia for the era from which these tracks have been excavated.

REBECCA DUMAINE & DAVE MILLER TRIO The Consequence of You

Album · 2015 · Vocal Jazz
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js
Quite often, in the world of jazz vocalists, a line can be drawn between those that over do it, and those that don’t. Certainly some of our favorite singers, from Billie Holiday to Chet Baker and Peggy Lee, are singers who keep their ‘cool‘. Rebecca DuMaine doesn’t exactly sound like any of those three, she certainly has a little more exuberance than the often overly subdued Chet, but she definitely falls more in that tradition that doesn’t try to blow you away with vocal theatrics. Even for those who might feel a bit apprehensive about jazz vocals, DuMaine will win you over with her unpretentious and effortlessly swinging and contagiously upbeat approach to some classic, and some lesser known tunes.

DuMaine’s choice of material on here gets into some interesting songs, such as “Beautiful Love”, that have been overlooked by others. Overall the choice of classic standards is good as well, and she somehow manages to breathe new life into the often over-recorded “One Note Samba”. The only song that seems to over do her natural positive vibes is “Put on a Happy Face”, but to her credit, this song probably works better live, as it sounds like she really is behind the lyrics, ha.

Another plus about this CD is that it really comes across like a live jam, all the musicians take expressive solos, pianist Dave Miller (also Rebecca’s father) in particular, shows a lot of inventive energy and humor in his rides. Dave is obviously influenced by elegant pianists like George Shearing and Bill Evans, but his solos also show a mischievous Monk-like influence as well. Whereas a lot of east coast jazz reflects smoky barrooms and bustling crowded streets, this very California sounding jam session sounds more like a sunny Sunday afternoon on an outdoor deck at a club that features some fine local wine. Enjoy!

SUSAN KREBS Simple Gifts

Album · 2015 · Vocal Jazz
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js
Susan Krebs and her Chamber Band definitely get off of the beaten path on their new release, “Simple Gifts”. There is nothing particularly startling or “avant-garde” going on here, but Krebs and her band sound like no one else in today’s jazz world. Krebs is a jazz vocalist with a lengthy background on both of the US coasts, and on this disc she leads a rather unusual quartet made up of percussion, piano, woodwinds and violin. The album opens with a couple jazz standards before veering into something more Latin on “So Many Stars”. The group goes on to show they are no light weights when they tackle the difficult and abstract changes to Steve Swallow’s “Falling Garce”. The final three tracks take on a Middle-Eastern feel as Scott Breadman’s percussion accompaniment takes on a stronger role. The eclectic choice of tunes almost suggests a cabaret type effect, but Krebs and her group have none of that corny schtick associated with cabaret, instead the vibe here is contemporary jazz drawing from many influences from the past.

The musicians on here are outstanding and are very careful as they weave their individual instrumental voices around Krebs vocals. The band is referred to as ‘chamber jazz’, as this group tends to perform in intimate salon settings, often at Kreb’s home, but this is a much warmer sound than is usually associated with contemporary chamber jazz groups of the North European slant. There is no artificial ‘spacious’ reverb on here, instead every instrument is recorded au naturale with a bright clear precision, it really sounds like you are in the room with Krebs and her band. Paul Cartwright's violin, in particular, gives the band an earthy sound that cuts across the decades. Susan is an excellent singer, blessed with a strong voice that understands jazz nuance, but she sometimes resorts to a sort of “stage whisper” type delivery. Possibly this is due to the intimate setting of her concerts, but she sounds best when she just belts it out, she has the pipes, as they say.

SUSAN KREBS Simple Gifts

Album · 2015 · Vocal Jazz
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Matt
Using a different approach for her latest release “Simple Gifts’, Susan Krebs decided to record in a more intimate fashion by using Chamber Music as the predominate support backing her vocals. Susan has been playing at times in between gigs, music salons which are small gatherings that are usually held over at Susan’s place requiring the band to be more compact due to available space and out of this concept Susan’s latest album was created. Susan Krebs started her career over in New York working in musicals, plays and television commercials and since moving west to L.A. has continued with many appearances in a variety of acting formats including film and television. In between all this she has also recorded four previous albums starting back in 1999 with most times using what could be best described as a standard Jazz band with piano, bass and drums being the backbone excepting “Jazz Aviary” where a string quartet was used in addition with the band.

This time around the bass and drum kit have been dropped with the highly talented multi instrumentalist Paul Cartwright adding violin and viola, who has appeared in numerous styles of music including Soundtracks, Rock and Pop with Jazz being a favourite. Rich Eames another from L.A. and Co- Producer is on piano and has appeared with Susan on her three previous releases and like Paul before worked in a myriad of styles and bands including session work. Doing percussion is Scott Breadman who has appeared on all of Susan’s albums with the addition of Rob Lockhart on Woodwinds being primarily sax and flute, who has quite an impressive collaboration list including Tom Harrell Big Band, Kurt Elling and the Woody Herman Orchestra and as with all the previous band members, again it is the session work providing the bread and butter.

With the first few words sung acapella from Susan, the album opens with a Billie Holiday song, “Let’s Call a Heart A Heart” which quickly develops into swing with the band gradually coming in throughout the first verse with some lovely input and quick little solos with Paul’s violin, Rich’s piano and Rob’s sax in that order and Susan’s great voice to finish up the last verse. The Chamber is exactly where the following ballad “Looking Back” seems to be originating from, with some stunning violin input from Paul for Susan’s phrasing which at times generates a beautiful traditional folk feel and yes something a little different giving the album its own identity.”So Many Stars” with its mid tempo timing brings more a great summers day feel with Rob’s dreamy sax and Scott’s percussion interspersed with Rich ‘s piano, it was not surprising to see it was a Sergio Mendes composition. “Once Upon A Summertime” has Susan providing some beautiful vocals primarily with Paul’s violin at the fore front within the ballad and although “Falling Grace” which follows is another ballad both are done with quite a different feel with Paul’s violin providing a beautiful distinct classical touch on the first and Rob’s use of baritone and soprano sax on the second having a more introspective Jazz approach which keeps the variety coming along in a superb manner. “Throw It All Away” has Scott’s tambourine providing the base for Susan’s vocals and Paul’s violin with this delightful take of an Abbey Lincoln composition. “For All We Know” is Susan’s dedication to her brother who she lost, and an old Shaker tune “Simple Gifts’ being the album’s title brings the show to a close with more wonderful input from Susan and the band. Who does their solo’s better, I should let you decide for this delightful number.

So nice to hear Jazz performed in a slightly different manner. The sessions must be fabulous over at Susan’s Salon with great vocals and musicians included. A big thumbs up to Paul Cartwright with his strings addition for playing with quite a traditional approach, especially in the album’s title, “Simple Gifts”. Wonderful new release from Susan Krebs and highly recommended.

JOANNE TATHAM Out of My Dreams

Album · 2015 · Vocal Jazz
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Matt
The fifth song on Joanne Tatham’s newest release, is titled “Cool” and that is precisely what emanates with Joanne’s latest release being her third album, “Out Of My Dreams”. Impeccable phrasing and timing seem to be Joanne’s natural with the highs and even the lows all tackled superbly within her vocal range with a wonderful late 50’s to 60’s Jazz style and the addition of quite a nice contemporary touch. Twelve years prior Joanne was doing musical-comedy in New York until she ran into a TV Writer where a marriage, family with a move to L.A. all followed. Not only that, but one could say Joanne reinvented herself within her musical art and took up Jazz, singing solo in quite a few jazz clubs and cabarets over in L.A where she s has gone from strength to strength to arrive at this point in her career.

There are some superb musicians to support Joanne with Tamir Hendelman and Jamieson Trotter both inputting some wonderful arrangements and piano on the majority of numbers throughout the album’s duration. John Clayton with Lyman Medeiros are the bassists for their respective sessions with the drumming having Peter Erskine or Mike Shapiro behind the kit with Mike also adding percussion additions on his selected numbers. Marcel Carmargo, guitar and Bob Sheppard, saxophone on various tracks creating one highly experienced Jazz band and just a quick look at some of their past collaborations, include Hamilton Clayton Jazz Orchestra, Stan Kenton, Weather Report, Jaco Pastorius, John Abercrombie, Wynton Marsalis, Queen Latifah, Barbara Streisand, and even Todd Rundgren and the list just goes on and on.

Variety is the album’s key with a wonderful input of modern Post Bop Jazz, Bossa Nova, Broadway, Harry Nilsson and a David Frishberg composition bringing quite an entertaining touch to the album’s content. The McCoy Tyner composition with Sammy Kahn lyrics is where the album begins with “You Taught My Heart To Sing” with Joanne opening with a lovely scat and Bob Shepard’s sax over this quite spritely timed little tune with Joanne’s vocals covering those music scales with superb dexterity and some lovely addition on sax and piano respectively from Bob Sheppard and Tamir Hendleman included. Harry Nillson’s, ‘Without Him” ( Without Her) is given a beautiful Bossa timing with Michael Camargo’s guitar putting the Brazilian sunshine straight in from the start with Joanne singing in a lovely sultry style opening her vocals with a scat that just puts down her timing right throughout this number. Just a trio is used for the backing in “Devil May Care” with Lyman Madeiros keeping some wonderful time on bass providing not only some great vocal work for Joanne but also the pianist and drummer to work during this number containing at times a slight discordant touch. “Vivo Sonhando” is a Jobim composition with the majority of the band providing backing vocals for Joanne where she takes on Portuguese for one verse to great effect and I have to mention Michael Camargo’s beautiful guitar input and solo keeping all things Brazil. The Broadway composition “Cool’ follows being exactly that with a mix of scat and vocals. “Double Life” ( Tell Me a Bedtime Story) has Joanne writing her own lyrics over Herbie Hancock’s tune and sung in a beautiful laid back manner. Pure Jazz vocals for “Detour Ahead” and I am sure we all do have smooth roads with no detour ahead after listening to John Clayton’s bass within the composition. I just love the catchiness with Dave Frishberg’s “Too Long In L.A” . “You’re Sensational” a John Lucien song is given a wonderful take on a Bossa beat and the ballad “In A Lonely Place” follows but what really impressed me was how Joanne hits the low within her vocals throughout the number and holds the melody beautifully with more stunning input from Bob Sheppard’s sax. The Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway number “Out Of My Dreams” from Oklahoma closes the album with Joanne adding her own lyric touch with the addition of Todd Hunter’s arrangement to close the album on a beautiful note.

Although there appears to be two main sessions held with different line ups, it only enhances the album’s content due to Michael Camargo’s guitar on certain tracks and Bob Sheppard’s sax on two others keeping Joanne sounding fresh with the required variety included. Great new album and if you like Jazz vocals, why not get it?

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.

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