Best jazz or blues female vocalist ever

Hello, I'm looking for some recommendations for a female vocalist (blues or jazz) from before about 1965. I think that Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday are contenders for "best". Could I get some recommendations of vocalists? Also, what works would you say is their best effort? Thanks in advance.
Ella Fitzgerald, without question.
Sarah Vaughan with Ella a close second
I'll second Rayhall's & IMO, her best was Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie -- EXCEPTIONAL!
Thats a hard one to answer because at any given time a female singer with any good material will move you. But if I had to I would say Ella,Vaughan,Bessie Smith and Kelly Smith,Holiday and Washington. There are more just to early in the morning. Also try some Lena Horn not a true Blues or jazz singer but a fabulous voice. I guess we have to stick to he old standards becaue your not going to find them on American idol.
Bessie Smith
Sarah Vaughan and Helen Humes come to mind.
You need to hear SHirley Horn album,Here`s to Life.You are
missing out on a real gemm.
Billie is a stylist but Ella is a vocalist.
blues...the late great jo ann kelly.....jazz,ella, nina simone.....r&b, aretha, etta, millie jackson
You could also look for Carmen Lundy and Carmen mcrae and have a listen.
Ella was a great jazz singer as was sarah vaughn. In a big band format Ella was IMHO better as she always sang in her head voice and could really swing. In small groups I prefer sarah as she sang from her chest and throat which is really great to listen to with a scotch in hand. Ella was NOT a blues singer period. Sara was a pianist and a stylist and had more in common with bop and harmonics than she did the blues. Billie Holiday sang ( stylized - whatever) from a sense of the deep blues which is why she shines with people like lester young etc. IMHO these three represent the cream of the crop of three different schools : swing, bop, and blues. The divisions are not clear cut but they are meaningful. - Jim
Billie Holiday
There are too many good ones to limit it to one...and I agree with all that have been mentioned.

My personal female Jazz vocalist that I listen to nearly every week would be.

Ella, Sarah, Carmen, Shirley, Rosemary Clooney (try the Johnny Mercer tribute CD, Helen Merrill. Believe it or not, Anne Murray did a CD of standards(kinda Jazz, but not realy) a decade or more ago that is quite good....a review from the magazine Stereo Review called her the female Frank Sanatra on that CD.
Gentlemen, Thank you for your recommendations. I've been listening to more female vocals lately and this gives me a direction to pursue. Thanks again! Best regards, Stan
I'm a big fan of Betty Carter as a jazz vocalist,and Big Maybelle as an unbelievable Blues,R"n"B singer her Okeh Sessions re-released on Epic in '83 with "Rain Down Rain" and "You'll Never Know" "Whole Lotta Shakiin'" are required listening.
Stan, another great vocalist who has not yet been mentioned here is Anita O'Day. If you can get hold of the nine-disc set by Mosaic Records, you'll be in heaven.
Another vote for Sarah Vaughan
Ella of course, including a vote for best "scat" style.

Closer to this era, I have really enjoyed Kellye Gray as an obscure talent. Her "Standards in Gray" is a hugely overlooked performance. What I find interesting about Ms. Gray is that she also uses her voice as an instrument - with some remarkable chops I might add. There's a cover of "All Blues" on this disc with her doing the trumpet parts on vocal. That takes a lot of...guts. She pulls it off though, and she can scat too.
Sarah Vaughan had one of the great vocal instruments of the last century. That high bari to mezzo range of hers was peerless. She also had a bop saxophonist's understanding of harmony, phrasing and rhythmic development that so many emulate but none equal. Live, she would make you swoon with her sweeping, multi-octave portamentos. I witnessed the entirety of Carnegie Hall heave a communal sigh as she glided through an introduction of "How High the Moon". Still, she could mail-in lyrics from time to time.
Sarah Vaughan, Ella, and Anita O'Day really do it for me. Carmen McCrae is also great.

I saw Anita O'Day a few years ago at the Iridium on Broadway, NYC a few blocks from where I live. Being in her 80's it was not the greatest, but I was thrilled to see her and there were a few moments when her old magic shone through. I never realized she was still alive.
Cleo Laine.
Janis Joplin
I vote for Ella.
I like Pearl Baley
Gentlemen, Thanks again for all the great responses. I've just ordered two cds... "Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown" circa 1954 Universal Records (Japan) & "No Count Sarah" circa 1958 Mercury (Japan). Both are recent Japanese remasters. I'm looking forward to hearing them. Too bad the Japanese remaster of "At Mr Kelly's" circa 1958 was backordered. I thought that that would be one of her better releases. I plan on buying a few cds every couple weeks. Shirley Horn and Anita O'day are on my short list, among others mentioned. Best wishes, Stan
Nina Simone - Blues
Dinah Washington - Jazz

She's none of the above, but give either of Julia Fordam's first two cd's a try and you'll see why her 19 year old cd Porcelain made Stereophile's "Records to Die For" this year.
Shirley Horn and Etta James get a lot of play here.
Nancy Wilson with Cannonball Adderley!! Nancy Wilson, I will repeat, come on guys and gals..this thread ended way too soon....thats all you have? Try some Nancy...fall in love...