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

ROBERTA FLACK First Take Album Cover First Take
ROBERTA FLACK
4.93 | 3 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA Watertown Album Cover Watertown
FRANK SINATRA
4.69 | 6 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
4.58 | 8 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 It Might As Well Be Swing Album Cover It Might As Well Be Swing
FRANK SINATRA
4.63 | 3 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA My Way Album Cover My Way
FRANK SINATRA
4.50 | 6 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA A Swingin' Affair! Album Cover A Swingin' Affair!
FRANK SINATRA
4.53 | 4 ratings
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JONI MITCHELL Mingus Album Cover Mingus
JONI MITCHELL
4.50 | 4 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA Come Fly With Me Album Cover Come Fly With Me
FRANK SINATRA
4.44 | 6 ratings
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FRANK SINATRA Come Swing With Me! Album Cover Come Swing With Me!
FRANK SINATRA
4.47 | 4 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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FRANKIE LAINE Mr Rhythm Album Cover Mr Rhythm
FRANKIE LAINE
4.43 | 3 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 New Releases

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I Want a Little Boy
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Times Like These
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Sweet Invitation
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SF JAZZ COLLECTIVE
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vocal jazz Music Reviews

ESTER WIESNEROVA Blue Journal

Album · 2022 · Vocal Jazz
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js
One of the first things that will hit you about Ester Wiesnerova’s debut CD is what an elaborate package it comes in. You get this thick soft covered book full of lyrics, photos and even empty pages in case you want to add to the introspective nature of Ester’s thoughts, and of course a CD folded into the back cover. Such an elaborate production could seem pretentious if the music didn’t carry the same amount of care and careful presentation as the package itself, but Ester comes through with some remarkable songs that obviously carry the same ornate and thoughtful compositions as the package that it comes in. These are very personal and introspective songs played by a well rehearsed band that seems to be very much in tune with Ester’s every thought and emotion. No, this isn’t veteran jazz cats blowing through some chord charts, but more like a modern art pop band with members who have been working and growing together for a while.

One of the first things that will hit you about the music on “Blue Journal” is what a colorful and unique lineup. Along with Ester’s soaring vocals, you also get Charles Overton on harp (stringed harp, like the ones the angels play, not harmonica), Kan Yanabe on hand drums and percussion, Michal Selep on stand up bass and Sam Knight on saxophones and possibly un-credited clarinet. The tone colors they create are carefully constructed so that each tune has its own personal flavor. Sometimes only one or two musicians are playing at a time, which adds more to the variety. Also, occasionally Knight’s woodwinds are double tracked to create a chamber woodwind ensemble.

Wiesnerova’s melodies avoid clichés and present small surprises in a manner that may remind some of Joni Mitchell, or some of Esperanza Spaulding’s latest work. Ester sites Joni, along with Maria Schneider and Lusiana Souza as major influences. Song topics range from a man and woman who find their budding attraction to each other separated by Trump’s Mexican border wall, to the numbing effect of social media, plus plenty of musings by an artist who is not afraid to challenge herself even if it means failure at times. Ester is originally from Slovakia but has since traveled the world and lived in many places, leading her to ask herself, “Who are You Now”.

LYN STANLEY London Calling -A Toast To Julie London

Album · 2018 · Vocal Jazz
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kev rowland
The complete album title, ‘London Calling: A Toast To Julie London’, shows what this release is all about, which is Stanley taking songs recorded by Julie London (plus a couple she feels she would have if she had still been musically active when they were written) and providing her own tribute. The production is superb, with great space and ambience, and there is certainly a live feel to the album. Stanley also hasn’t been afraid to bring in Latin influences where she feels that would add to the arrangements as she is strong that this is a tribute as opposed to her attempting to re-record note for note what Julie had already achieved.

The booklet contains very good notes on the history of each song, as well as who played what, plus a new photo of Stanley on each page. So overall the release has been incredibly well handled. That Stanley has a wonderful voice is never in doubt.

WILLIAM PARKER Voices Fall From The Sky

Album · 2018 · Vocal Jazz
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snobb
"Voices Fall From The Sky" is an unusual album even for bassist and composer William Parker who's music is always way unpredictable. And not because it is a massive three-CD set - Parker often uses similar format for his releases in new millennium. Simply, it is a vocal album. Parker often uses vocalists for some his projects, but songs with vocal usually take smaller part of the album, if at all. And here we have three-CD set exclusively dedicated to vocalists!

Not all music here is jazz and far not all material is new as well. First disc in a set, titled same as whole release - "Voices Fall From The Sky" - is a new recording with only a short opener coming from Parker's 2006 album "Long Hidden: The Olmec Series". It contains predominantly duos or small combos playing avant-garde ballads (jazz and non-jazz) sung by ten different female and male singers, one or two per piece). It works quite well and recalls Ran Blake recordings with Jeannie Lee."We Often Danced" with Fay Victor is a peak. On this part, Parker himself plays on five songs only (all but one - bass, and ngoni on "Airlift").

Disc 2 titled simply "Songs" contains lot of previously released material. Only four songs have been previously unreleased and are material from the vault (recorded in 1991 and 1993). All them are minimalist duets of William Parker on bass or Japanese pianist Yuko Fujiyama with singers Lisa Sokolov or Ellen Christi. All but one rest songs on this CD are duets as well, piano or bass plus singer, all comes from already released albums. Parker is an only bassist, but we can hear two more pianist - another Japanese Eri Yamamoto and Parker's regular collaborator Cooper-Moore changing each other. Well known from other Parker projects singer Leena Conquest is added on the vocalists list (beside of lesser known Senegalese Mola Sylla). Predominantly dark bare-naked minimalist ballads continue the spirit and atmosphere of the first set's CD. Part are jazzy, others - more camber/non-jazz avant-garde.

CD 3 opens with live big-band version of "The Essence Of Ellington" with Ernie Odoom on vocals, recorded live in Italy in 2012 and already released on Parker's "Essence Of Ellington" same year. It continues with "Lights Of Lake George" sung by Indian classical vocalist Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay and supported by same Parker's Orchestra (already released in 2008 on "Double Sunrise Over Neptune"). Deep sultry Leena Conquest voice is easy recognizable on perfect but already heard "For Fannie Lou Hamer"(from "For Those Who Are, Still",2015). "Deep Flower" is groovy composition with recitative vocals coming from obscure "Wood Flute Songs. Anthology / Live 2006-2012"(2013).

What comes after is probably a biggest surprise of whole release. Parker's composed four-part avant-garde jazz suite of sort, performed by trio of already mentioned above Japanese pianist Eri Yamamoto,Estonian drummer Leonid Galaganov and Afro-American mezzo-soprano AnnMarie Sandy combines avant-garde minimalist piano-drums duo with operatic vocals. It is a new material, released for the first time here, it not always works but at the same time it is the music which attracts the attention for sure.

Whole set closes with beautiful "Natasha's Theme" from "Alphaville Suite, Music Inspired By The Jean Luc Godard Film", a Parker's album released in 2007 on French Rogueart Jazz label.

A mixed bag, this album contains a lot of great music and some interesting music, but cleaned from reissues and edited till more listenable size of single CD, it could be an another Parker's strong release. Still worth listening for sure, at least for recordings one can't find on any other Parker's album.

SIMONE KOPMAJER Spotlight On Jazz

Album · 2018 · Vocal Jazz
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kev rowland
Simone is back with her thirteenth album as band leader, and for me in many ways it is full of surprises. The first of these is that Simone is Austrian, as she sings in pure unaccented English, and if someone had asked me to place her origin I would have probably guessed New York. The album itself is a mix of standards and songs she has written herself, and it is impossible to identify which is which unless the song is already known. With a wonderful supporting quintet, led by Tommy Dorsey Orchestra leader, saxophonist Terry Myers, the delicate support is absolutely perfect for her softly sung and emotional vocals.

She opens with an original, “Spotlights”, and immediately one is brought into a world of swing which is surely immediate post war as opposed to a brand-new release. The photo on the cover shows a coy Simone looking away from a very old-fashioned microphone, and in many ways, this typifies what is a truly gorgeous album from start to end. The musicians behind her are all masters, and they allow themselves to prove that here and there, but for the most part they rein themselves in and ensure they Simone is always front and centre. It is a relaxing, easy to listen to album, comforting and warm. Whether she is singing gently, or throwing vocal gymnastics as she skats, she is always in total control. This is an album for an intimate jazz club as opposed to a massive venue, dark with the spotlight just on her.

An album which has come through the time warp, sounding as if it is at least sixty years old and from an era long gone, this is a delight from start to end.

BETTY BRYANT Project 88

Album · 2019 · Vocal Jazz
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js
As jazz history continues to grow, more than likely there will be those who will point to the emergence of college level jazz education as one of the more defining characteristics that has come to differentiate early jazz from modern jazz. Certainly the music has changed, but even more so, the atmosphere and attitude of jazz has changed considerably. Jazz used to be a music for outsiders who existed within, or very near, the criminal world. It was music for terminal hipsters who scoffed at the squares and their law abiding mundane existence. My how times have changed, these days squares are studying altered chords and metric modulation at Berklee while taking sax lessons from a major NYC star via skype along side their internet bros in Europe who are working on government grants to keep their free jazz quartet afloat. If all this collegiate endeavor leaves you a little thirsty for some soul, then you can take solace in knowing that there are still a few hep cats around who still have that ‘attitude’, that thing that Dizzy personified, that thing called cool.

“Project 88” is the title of Betty Bryant’s new CD, and the 88 refers not only to the 88 keys on her piano, but also to the fact that she just turned 88. Betty’s career in jazz goes back to the aforementioned ‘bad’ ole days, and it shows in very good ways. Its in her relaxed vocal delivery, her clever lyrics and her bluesy piano riffs, this is a woman who gets cool in every sense of the word, and she knows how to convey this attractive point of view to us squares who want just a bit of her hipness to rub off. “Project 88” sets off an atmosphere that can not be faked and is becoming rarer by the day.

Betty presents a mix of originals and standards on here. The prevalent style is bluesy swing, but there is a bit of soul jazz and a couple Latin numbers too. She sings on almost every one, but also includes a few instrumentals so as to showcase her signature piano skills that reflect her Kansas City background and Count Basie influence. The make-up of her band varies per track, but possibly the best treat is a couple of songs recorded with a mini big band ensemble.

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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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Albums with 30 ratings and more
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