Jazz is hard to categorize, but I like Johnny Hartman,Joe Williams and Ray Charles. Good listening.
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Can't really think of too many. Lots of blues singers that get close to jazz, but blues is not jazz. For real jazz, Bobby Short comes to mind, with his distinctive style. How about Harry Connick Jr? Is that jazz or just good crooning? For that matter, some of Frank Sinatra's and Tony Bennett's work was actually pretty much jazz, but it was so distinctively their own that most of us don't identify it as real jazz. I've probably missed somebody real obvious. Go figure.
Some repeats but it might be good to hear the names more than once.
Frank Sinatra (if you don't have "Sinatra I recommend Sinatra, Live at the Sands" with Count Basie -- remastered, pretty good recording great music)
Joe Williams (double cd Best of Joe Williams Live the Verve Years 2nd disc -- or "Every Day I Have the Blues" 1988 verve)
Nat King Cole
Luqman Hamaz - not well known but been around a long time recently recorded on Groove Note lable "Luqman Hamza, With This Voice"
Tom Waits (not Jazz exactly more folk/blues)
Jimmy Durante (sp)
I would like to find others since I like Jazz/Blues voices so much....
Bing Crosby - "The undisputed best-selling artist until well into the rock era (with over half a billion records in circulation), the most popular radio star of all time, and the biggest box-office draw of the 1940s, Crosby dominated the entertainment world from the Depression until the mid-'50s"
check out his bio (and the others listed in this thread) on
you can also do some cross referencing hear for like artist to get started or to find more of something you already like...if this doesn't make sense it will when you see the sight.
John Pizzarelli - does the classic pop songs (has an entire album devoted to Nat King Cole) - simple, smooth and enjoyable
John Feinstein - classic broadway musical stuff and the like - the real "classics" elegantly done.
Les McCann - earthy, jazzy stuff with more rhythmic drive.
Michael Franks - a little more personal, intellectual stuff, but has a nice pleasant voice and good arrangements.
I will post again but hve to second the first reccomndation with Hartman.The Coltrane LP and "I just dropped by to say hello" are the best.If folks know his stuff and dig it find Clint Eastwoods "Remebring Madison County" and the first "Madison County" soundtracks.The "Remembering" is almost all Hartman iwth two Ahamad Jamal piano numbers fo kicks.The "Music from Madison Co." has two Hartman cuts's,Dina Washinton et al.Another good sountrack before I forget is "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".Torme?The male Ella fitzgerald.His best?"Mel Torme Sings the Fred Astaire Songbook" with Marty Paich.If you have choice of CD or Lp with either Billy May or Marty Paich vs some other conductor /arranger even good one's like Nelson Riddle or Frany DeVol go with the 10 piece units without strings of Paich or May.Except for Sinatra where Riddle is best (though Frank wasn't a a jaz singer per say).Late non-rock Bobby Darrin is exelent if I am gonna talk Frank.And if it's Rat Pack thn the one Sammy davis Jr' Cd/Lp to have is "The Wham of Sam".Forget "The Candyman" and all that C&W schlock.This LP alone he could rest his laurels on.But I digress.Will come up with some more.Lastly have to disagree with the above choice of Jimmy Smith.There was a singer who never should have had a comeback.Get earlier stuff like the Rhino LP "Lost and Found"My additional list will have a numeber of older singers as there aren't very many cats under 60 worth there salt.Yeah Connick and Pizzarelli but they ain't Franb or Mel.If anbody knew and liked the hipness of Mark Murphy than Kurt Elling may be your cup of Tea.Really like the last years "The Mesenger".Some of it's to cute but his rendition of "You don't know what love is" is worth the price of admssion alone.Geez finally a 'Gon topic I know a little bit about (I ran the jazz section of a CD store for 5 years).I'll be back with more
I only know a handful of his performances, so can anyone recommend any Billy Eckstein recordings? The same goes for Leon Thomas.
Chazzbo is right, Kurt Elling can be a little too cute, but I've seen him live a half dozen times and know how good he really is. The records only hint at his true inventiveness and risk taking. He extends himself and sometimes it works and somethimes it works less well. Also, Jimmy Scott is an acquired taste. You'll either love him or wonder out loud what the fuss is about.
Most of the greats have been mentioned -- Chazzbo has some good suggestions for you. One of the younger singers that hasn't been mentioned is Kevin Mahogany. Some of his covers, to my ears, are flat out great. Also, for you younger guys, if you want something soothing / seductive to play in the jazz area when you have a date over, Kevin Mahogany is just fine.
Yes Mohogany is pretty good (see him in the great docmentary film "Remebering Kansas City" that Altman did when he made that crummy movie based there.But he has guys like Joshua Redman dressed up as Prez having another guy dreesed as The Hawk haveiung cutting contests.Ron carter,Syrus Chessnut,Geri Adams,etc=it's fun-hey maybe I should start a thread on jazz movies-best ever was Bert Sterns "Jazz on a Summers Day"-0reason to buy a DVD player if there ever was one).But the problem with Mohogany is again the prior genration had DEEP blues Shouters like Jimmy Rushing or the man who replaved him in Basies band (the hardest swinging swing band ever!) Joe Williams.Mahogany might be Ok 'cause he's here,young,and you can see hi-but buy "count Basie Swings Joe Williams Sings" and tell me Mahogany could even carry Joe's water bucket.Bookend CD/Lp's would be that one which is blues and another called "The Greatest" where Williams sings more standards-Yowza!!!!!!!!!!Hey while I am parked hear I am not sure if anybody metioned Chet.Not everybodys cup of Tea.You love him or hate him.Put him in the former categorie for me.Like Jimmy Smith very androgenous.I think maybe after Sinatra and Johnny Mathis maybe more guys (and gals) have scored to his singing than anybody.And that doesen't even touch his trumpet playing which was a 50's senation with the Gerry Mulligan piano-less Quartet.Reccomnded "The Best Of Chet Baker Sings" Pacific/Capitol (Picture of him at a piano) and "Bakers Holiday" which is from late 60's just before he got his teeth knocked out.Great Coronet playing and tune selection on that one.More as time permits..........
Check out Ecksteins "No Cover No Minnimum" On Roullette (Verve CD?) and one on Mercury Called "Billy's Best" both which are availible on CD.On LP look for one called live at Basin Street On Emarcy.Also read a review of another LP only one on AMG where you can read the story of how he had "THE BAND".This is the most famous non-recorded band of all time.All of the future be-bop and hard bob stars were in it and when you read the list your eyes pop out.He just liked the ways these guys played was into the bob thing (so was gene Krup with his late 40's band with Ainta O'Day BTW-Awesome!!!!!) and hired these guy when more conservattive singers and bandleader wouldn't.Too bad the wartime AFM recording ban was in effect prohibitting members from recording. P.S.YeahI gues I have to say I am a freak for Nat as I bought his 18 CD Mosaic box on ebay for $600.But as was said Louis and Bing both invented the from in KC back in the 20's they are the greatest.Maybe not Der Bingle he went comercial right away and left jazz bu the 30's.but let's face it singing,playing,whatever.Louis may have gotten way too much air time in Burns's documentary but he is the greatest single figure in jazz history for having been the first to improvise (Sindney Bechet some say) on record and hanving invented scatting and the whole vocal form.Read bergrans Loius Armstrong A life" (I think I have that right-bio was long time on Times best seller list)-one of the best written jazz bio's ever-best collection though is "Reading Jazz" Editted by Gottlieb.Buy it if you ever have any interest in jazz.Best Guide book (I have 20 gojng back to late 40's) the Alll Music Guide to Jazz-the only book you need to fill a jazz library-better than Penguin,Rough Guide etc.They also have a web site www.allmusic.com where you can plug anyone in from Cannonball Addrerly to John Zorn and get a reliable set of reccomendations.
To each his own, and I wouldn't deny you your joy. But I just can't stand Chet Baker's voice. He was flat, off key and had no range or dynamics. Just an over rated pretty boy junkie "pop" Jazz marketing tool. He left behind a rather infamous reputation. I should be more forgiving of the dead, but I just don't understand what the fuss was about. I will say he did play with some of the most lyrical, intellectual and imaginative musicians of his era. Mind you, I have even less talent.
About Chet that is the rap.And he played my ear and couldn't read music.And starting in the 60's he would record for anybody,anytine to feed his drug habit.But many feel his voice while not long in technique and range is emotionally affecting nontheless.And listen to early Lp's like "Smokin'" on Roultte or "In New York" on Riverside.He could play.And while so much in the 70's was crap if anybody can find "Candy" on Gazell or hear the "The Last Great Concert" well to me Chet had a natural lyricism that these julliard wunderkinds of today with all there chops just don't have.But yes it was a spotty and even legitamtely debatable career.
Bbtuna, I think that Tom Waits "Nighthawks at the diner" certainly qualifies as a Jazz recording. Now some of you will think me inconsistent recommending this Tom Waits (HIGHLY!) recording after I just blasted Chet Baker's voice.
Waits is hardly a vocal virtuoso. But he is a poet. On this recording he reminds me of a beatnik Bob Dylan with a clever sense of humor. Not all of his music is like this! It's quite amazing how eclectic he can be. Certainly a lot of his music would not be considered Jazz.
Louis Armstrong is the unquestioned king of the jazz vocal genre. There really is no one else who comes close in skill, technique and phrasing. The fact that he could achieve all of that with a voice which was not classically beautiful is all the more a testament to his talent. In addition, he was immensely popular. In his time, he was more popular than the Beatles were in theirs.
Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra are generally considered to be pop singers, not jazz singers.
Among the great jazz crooners, Nat King Cole and Billy Eckstine stand at the top. Other than to us audiophiles, Johnny Hartman made a relatively small impression on the music scene, although his talent is up there with Billy Eckstine and the two of them sound quite similar.
JSBail isright on."Ballads Blues and Bey" with just Andy Bey singing and acompanying himself on paino.All ballads made more poingnant when you learn that he came out of closet and and has AIDS.Not that I have to qualify these observations on telling everyone what sensitive hetro I am I have been interested in Gays in Jazz music since reading the wonderful biography of Billy Strayhorn by David Hadjou (think that's the spelling) called (what else?) Lush Life.Strays wrote that world weary song when he was just 17.I am sorry no straight aged 17 could have written that.Had to be a black,gay president of the HS French Club that Strayhorn was.Facsinating book.Many Song writters and lyricists like Lorenz Hart were also gay.Think of the lyrics to "My Funny Valentine" etc.Good article about gays in jazz in a recent Jazz Times.