Need help with Jazz

Hi. I'm a veteran audio nut with a decent bit of kit; mostly Musical Fidelity separates piped through some of Albert Von Schweikert's finest. I have a very eclectic taste in music, but I've never been drawn to Jazz until recently. I'm looking for recommendations for Jazz with good female vocals, and with an "upbeat" tempo: you know, the kind of music that tends to exploit one's awesome components! For example, I've tried Patricia Barber, and she's just a bit too dark. I do enjoy Diana Krall, but I'd like something with more brazen instrumentals. All suggestions welcome! Thanks.
Betty Carter. Sarah Vaughn-Live in Japan, Suede-sings and plays trumpet. If you like latin Latin jazz, Flora Purim-usually recorded with Airto, but also has a few releases under her name.
Try Diane Schuur,Music is my Life,sounds like you might like this.Also ,Cheryl Bentyne,Let me Off Uptown
Agree with the Flora Purim.

Try Annie Sellick "No Greater Love" w/ Joey DeFrancesco. Non-threatening but lively with excellent sound.
Check out Dianne Reeves--she's been the award winning jazz vocalist many times over.
Quiet in the Storm
Go on and check out her music. The recordings are excellent--great clarity, dynamic, punchy bass.
I dont go much for female vocal jazz, but Sarah Vaughn is very cool. Her music is normally more upbeat.

Also, I picked up Mabel Mercer Sings Cole Porter. I think its more "cabaret" than the typical female jazz stuff suggested here regularly.
try Tierney Sutton, Holly Cole, Ella Fitzgerald
Some up-beat jazz singers that might interest you. Amongst some of the contemporary singers I really enjoy are ReneMarie, Mary Stallings, and Laverne Butler. They have each recorded several CD's for MaxJazz. Great stuff to my ears.
Your criteria eliminates at least 90% of the great recorded jazz currently available. The tail (system) is wagging the dog (music)....imo
Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable" is a GREAT album...every song is a winner w/good sonics. Also, I'm a big fan of Rosemary Clooney's songs recorded in her prime (that is in her older years). Concord has some good stuff of hers, and the Concord engineers, IMO, always get it right. Last, check out Shirley Horne's faster tempo songs. She can do slow (and I mean barely alive slow), but her up tempo songs swing.
The "usual suspects" among female vocalists include great names like Eva Cassidy (Live at Blues Alley), Ella Fitzgerald (love her duets with Louis Armstrong), Cassandra Wilson, Sara K, etc. Some lesser known by amazing voices with good recordings include Radka Toneff and Melody Gardot.

I also think that great piano jazz shows off a system's chops: Kenny Barron trio (Live at Bradley's, both volumes); Bill Evans; Mike Garson (Jazz Hat); Keith Jarrett; the list goes on and on.

Happy Listening!
Try Holly Cole's "Don't Smoke in Bed" and "Shade". I second the Diane Schuur recommendation--try the "Deedles" album.
Ernestine Anderson is what your looking for. She mixes blues-r&b and even a little gospel in her vocals, but is also capable of the "Ella" style when called for. Has about a dozen recordings on Concord Records, audiophile sound without the audiophile $$$.
Don't leave out Nina Simone.
Some further suggestions:
Betty Carter. Always underappreciated. Massively musical, a "dark" voice but lots of fast tempos. Her nickname was Betty "be-bop" Carter. She also kills, KILLS on ballads.
My favorite for upbeat Betty Carter is
LIVE WITH THE AUDIENCE. Simply brilliant throughout.

Also, for upbeat vocals with orchestra, you can't beat Ella Fitzgerald sings
The Gershwin Songbook. Or the Cole Porter songbook. Or the Irving Berlin songbook. Ella Fitzgerald's numerous live albums tend to be quite lively as well, if you prefer her with a piano trio.

If you're ready for some gorgeous downbeat jazz vocals, you must listen to Shirley Horn. A balladeer with exquisite taste and class and intimacy. Her late work with orchestra includes
HERE'S TO LIFE--breathtaking, including Miles Davis
and Horn with piano trio (she's a fine fine pianist) I LOVE YOU, PARIS
Klipshking - the album that I recommend is not a critical favorite, and is probably often overlooked. But Ella Fitzgerald's "Ella Abra├ža Jobim" is most excellent, and is in my top five favorite female jazz vocal albums. And you don't need to be a huge fan of Ella to enjoy this one, because it ain't all about her. For one, the sound quality is extremely good, considering its 1980 dating, and even better than a lot of current recordings. Secondly, there are several tasty guitar solos by Joe Pass on the album. Third, it is Jobim's music, and the interpretations are fresh. Fourth, the album is currently selling on Amazon for $8.25. I regularly use cuts from this CD as a reference or when I want to "stretch out" my system. Go for it.
Try Rachelle Ferrell (first instrument). You may also like Deedee Bridgewater.
Great idea from Edorr.

One of the Rachelle Ferrell CDs also has tremendous SQ - (sorry, I can't recall the title off the top of my head). You might want to do a little research on that. Her music kinda bumps up against the funk/r&b genre and it would seem to be right up the alley you describe.