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Popular female jazz songs

Ever since jazz was born at the dawn of the 20th Century, women have been — and continue to be — a minority in what is a largely male-dominated world. There is, however, one area of the genre where females have always excelled and flourished — the domain of the jazz vocalist. There has been no shortage of talented singers over the decades, but the best female jazz singers possess unique voices and personalities which truly ensure they hold their own against their male counterparts. Jazz has produced so many accomplished and influential female singers over the years that limiting the best female jazz singers to a meagre 25 is a challenge that many would deem impossible. Indeed, each one has a unique quality that makes them special, and they have all made and some are still making a vital contribution to the art — and history — of jazz singing. For those artists, communicating with their audience and conveying deep emotion was paramount. The fewer notes they used, the more profound and eloquent they seemed to be. The following is a list of the 25 best female jazz singers of all time. Proceeding in an ascending order of greatness, it is a rich tapestry of voices — perhaps the greatest female choir ever assembled. To date the top-selling female jazz singer of the 21st Century, this three-times Grammy-winner from Nanaimo, in British Columbia, combines a sultry voice with dexterous piano skills.
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The United States has a long and wonderful tradition of producing a long line of talented female jazz singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday to contemporary jazz singers such as Ann Hampton Callaway and Alicia Keys.
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Popular Jazz Songs for Females

The All Music Guide calls Vaughan "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century. This groundbreaking publication features authentic transcriptions in the original keys of 19 classics from the most signature recordings of the great Lady Day. Includes a biography and discography, and these classic standards in voice with piano accompaniment format. A must for every jazz singer's library! This outstanding collection assembles and transcribes for piano and voice 18 of the finest recordings in the world of singing. Includes a discography, and notes on each selection. Fourteen of the greatest standards ever written now in keys specifically designed for jazz singers. Includes a book and 2 CDs - one CD for high voice and the other CD for low voice - so all singers, men and women, can find a key comfortable for their personal range. The book includes all of the songs written in both keys with lyrics clearly notated over the melody line. The women's songs are in appropriate, low keys for this style of music.
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One reason is that learning a jazz standard really helps you grow stronger with your vocal phrasing. Even relatively simple jazz tunes can challenge your ear and bring you on a wild journey, while serving as platforms for jazz players to improvise upon. Once you are familiar with the jazz vocabulary, a sense of freedom opens that is unlike any other genre. Curious how lessons work? Sign up for more information about our private lessons. Submit Sign up successful. In fact, she made money performing jazz at night while studying classical voice during the day as a young singer. Jazz can sound great with any type of voice, as long as the vocal skills are strong! So ladies, read on for my suggestions on the most popular jazz songs to sing. And remember, all of these songs have been sung in every imaginable key — this is by far one of the most customizable of musical genres out there.
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Yes, we are talking about jazz again. Besides the blues, jazz is another original American tradition, created from roots of blues and ragtime. Jazz actually originated in African American areas of New Orleans, and the traditions are still carried on today. To me, jazz is the purest musical genre both from an instrumental perspective as well as vocally. Especially now when one of the most popular genres is centered around not being able to understand the lyricist, going back to a time when musicians put effort and their heart into each tune is a breath of fresh air.

Lately, I have been checking out the modern champions of jazz who are keeping the music alive and driving it to new heights. Upon hearing beautiful songstresses like Cecile McLorin Salvant, Jazzmeia Horn, and Esperanza Spalding all of whom you need to check out I was inspired to go back into the amusing musical time capsule that is Spotify and rediscover the iconic jazz vocal mavens who are still used as the benchmark to this day. Dinah Washington. As a young girl Ruth Lee Jones moved to the prosperous musical city of Chicago from her rural home in Alabama.

She instantly fell in love with the culture and met musicians and promoters that provided her with her first shows. Adapting the stage name Dinah Washington, she began playing with the famed band leader Lionel Hampton and also began recording with various labels.

She was said to really get involved with the music and become the lyrics and their meaning. She was very volatile, going through seven husbands, dealing with weight issues, and battling with various mental issues.

This behavior was reflected in her music, but her songs were also able to stable her in many ways. Sadly, she passed away in due to a mixture of various prescription drugs. Because of her gifts to the music world and undeniable influence on future singers, Washington was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Recommended album: Dinah Jams Also, she is joined by one of the best jazz trumpet players to ever pick up a horn, Clifford Brown.

Listen to his solos, then settle with the fact that he was only 25 when he passed away. Truly one of a kind musician. Nina Simone. Like fellow diva Dinah Washington, Nina Simone — born Eunice Waymon — sang a multitude of genres like classical, blues, pop, and of course, jazz. But really in those days, jazz really was the popular form of music and dominated the airwaves for many years.

Simone grew up in a house with eight brothers and sisters and found solace in music, specifically playing the piano. That led her to enroll in various music classes, eventually ending up in Julliard where she studied for a summer to get into a school that she was denied to, she suspected due to racial prejudice.

She began performing in bars and local clubs, singing songs she heard on a Billie Holiday album. Beginning in , her career really took off and she saw massive success until her passing in Because of various experiences with racism and seeing hatred in the world, Simone was inspired to pursue activism, speaking at various marches and rallies and was a full supporter of Malcolm X. However, she embraced combative ways of protest and became consumed with hate. She lived a very troubled live and became abusive to her husbands, coworkers, and even her own daughter.

Despite her personal issues, Nina Simone is one of the most celebrated singers to this day, recording an expansive 40 albums full of rich stories and wide range of styles. After several years of getting slighted from a spot, Nina Simone was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Billie Holiday. All of these names should be recognizable to most of you, but now we get to the top three you for sure know hopefully! Eleanora Fagan, known better as Billie Holiday, and nicknamed Lady Day by sax legend Lester Young, was one of the first widely successful and adored female jazz singers.

She was able to pioneer a sound and enjoyed great success without any formal training. Holiday in fact was the first jazz woman to experiment with heavy vibrato or the shakiness you hear in her voice, a trademark of her voice throughout her entire career. Unfortunately, like many musicians in those days, Billie struggled with drug and alcohol abuse that also caused various encounters with the law. Eventually, this behavior caught up to her, causing cirrhosis and heart issues.

She died at the age of 44 in It is Billie Holiday who was, and still remains, the greatest single musical influence on me. Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last twenty years. Can you guess the final two? Sarah Vaughan. Sarah Vaughan was one of the classiest ladies in history. This move definitely paid off as she began playing gigs in NYC, including a performance at the Apollo where she opened for Ella Fitzgerald when she was just Vaughan throughout her career recorded with some of the best record labels in the business including Columbia, Mercury, and Verve.

She can lull you into a trance in the deep sultry range of Nina Simone then hit you with high runs that make your hair stand up. Vaughan was also a skilled scat singer, soloing with various syllables in the style of a horn player.

Ella Fitzgerald. Even modern pop singers note Fitzgerald as a major influence on their sound. The scope and impact she made on music can never be overstated. She had impeccable tone, clear diction, and is the reigning champion of scat singing. Recommended Album : Literally anything, but a fun one to start with is Ella and Louis.

The best jazz vocalist teams up with the jazz trumpet legend Louis Armstrong on their first duet together, which includes eleven hit jazz standards. What are some of your favorite jazz vocal albums? About Who is Joe Bonamassa? Nina Simone Like fellow diva Dinah Washington, Nina Simone — born Eunice Waymon — sang a multitude of genres like classical, blues, pop, and of course, jazz.

Billie Holiday All of these names should be recognizable to most of you, but now we get to the top three you for sure know hopefully! Sarah Vaughan Sarah Vaughan was one of the classiest ladies in history. Scott Macaluso.

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