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  1. #1

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    In just starting to play some standards, I'm pretty sure a very good way for me to internalize them will be finding good vocal performances of them. It must be something about how I operate, but tying the melody to lyrics and hearing them sung really helps me. For example, hearing Nat King Cole sing Autumn Leaves has really ingrained that tune into me. I think I'm also personally able to more fully appreciate a tune when I have a good vocal version for reference.

    Therefore, I was hoping to get recommendations of some of your favorite vocal performances of popular standards (commonly played on the guitar). Individual performances would be good, but it might be even more helpful if there is a particular album/collection I could purchase that would contain many such tunes.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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  3. #2

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    Try Ted Gioia's 2012 book "The Jazz Standards" for lots of good recommendations.
    Last edited by 44lombard; 02-08-2020 at 04:23 AM.

  4. #3

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  5. #4

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    Ella Fitzgerald/Nelson Riddle "Songbooks", a treasury of perfect melodies and unequalled arranging. Shirley Horn's interpretations are priceless.

  6. #5

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    One of my favorite albums of all time where every song is a classic is John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman. Here's the duo on the great standard "My One and Only Love." I hope you enjoy. Good playing . . . Marinero



  7. #6

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    Well . . . here's another by the incomparable songstress Nancy Wilson--"The Very Thought of You." Some tasty guitar licks in the intro and end. I hope you enjoy! Good playing . . . Marinero



  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    One of my favorite albums of all time where every song is a classic is John Coltrane/Johnny Hartman. Here's the duo on the great standard "My One and Only Love." I hope you enjoy. Good playing . . . Marinero


    One of my all-time favorite recordings. I don't think it gets any better than this.

  9. #8

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    Sintra's "Under My Skin" is definitive.


  10. #9

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    Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald were magical together.

    A favorite:


  11. #10

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  12. #11

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    Sarah Vaughan singing Lullaby of Birdland. I can't get tired of listening to it. You can tell she sings like an "real" instrument player would think and play. Lots of technique involved and a stellar inspiration.






    Envoyé de mon SM-G930F en utilisant Tapatalk

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald were magical together.

    A favorite:


    Oh man! All of Ella and Louis together is gold. They didn’t have a shabby backing band either (Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, and Buddy Rich).



    Hard to go wrong with Billie either.


  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV
    Anita O'Day does two of my favorite vocal versions of standards: "Honeysuckle Rose" and "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me." Incredible talent.

  15. #14

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    I'm a big fan of Blossom Dearie. Not to everyone's taste, I know, but she had a real knack for putting her own stamp on a tune. Slowing down "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" so that it's a ballad with lullaby overtones was, like the hair of the werewolf drinking a pina coloda at Trader Vic's, perfect.



    And for an encore, "Manhattan"



    And for a final encore, Cole Porter's "Give Him the Ooh-la-la"


  16. #15

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    BETTY CARTER. The Hamburg Jazz Festival, October 1993 with Geri Allen on piano, Dave Holland on Bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums.


    others

  17. #16

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    Great thread!

    Here you will find the great Monika Zetterlung with the (non lesser great !) Bill Evans trio (Eddie Gomez, Axel Riel).

    Unless you are fluent swedish, you can skip the intro till 01'04".



    And this one, with a delightful short rehearsal moment before they start at 01'28"


  18. #17

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    All these people mentioned are great, of course. For another angle it's really interesting to hear the composers sing their own works, despite some imperfections in their technique. They have to be authoritative. Strayhorn singing Lush Life; Cole Porter on Anything goes. And Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael were very good singers, both with that Southern charm...

  19. #18

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    Hoagy Carmichael was from Indiana. Even his song of the South - Georgia on my Mind - was about a girl named Georgia and not the state.

    There are many great singers of standards, but some of them are not so great for learning the melodies (Billy Holiday and Betty Carter for example). I don’t think I saw Mel Torme mentioned, or Chet Baker, or Tony Bennett.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duffy Pratt
    Hoagy Carmichael was from Indiana. Even his song of the South - Georgia on my Mind - was about a girl named Georgia and not the state.

    There are many great singers of standards, but some of them are not so great for learning the melodies (Billy Holiday and Betty Carter for example). I don’t think I saw Mel Torme mentioned, or Chet Baker, or Tony Bennett.
    FYI, Georgia was Hoagy's sister. He missed his family when he came to Hollywood to be a musician and actor in films.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duffy Pratt
    Hoagy Carmichael was from Indiana. Even his song of the South - Georgia on my Mind - was about a girl named Georgia and not the state.
    I meant he projected Southern charm, affected or not. I know he was from the Midwest. I guess I should've stuck to Mercer--apologies.

    Georgia---we used to play it with a band in Central Park---til it came out of my ears. But it's a 'money tune'. (For the record IMO Hoagy's real masterpiece is Winter Moon---and it's a delight to hear him sing it). Anyone here familiar with Clarence 'C.' Sharpe? He was a beautiful alto player (and person), originally out of Philly. He hated Georgia, and would refuse to play it. His face scrunched up, he would say 'I hate that song! It was written by that sonofabitch, Lester Maddox!' I have no clue why he would think that, but it was at least as amusing to me as weird...

  22. #21

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    I like the series of albums that Linda Ronstadt did with Nelson Riddle. Great arrangements by Riddle, and great singing by Ronstadt, keeping to the original melodies. IMO one of the great voices of the 20th Century. Her illness is a real tragedy.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    All these people mentioned are great, of course. For another angle it's really interesting to hear the composers sing their own works, despite some imperfections in their technique. They have to be authoritative. Strayhorn singing Lush Life; Cole Porter on Anything goes. And Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael were very good singers, both with that Southern charm...
    Love the way Johnny sings this one


    But when Harold Arlen sang his own "Let's Fall In Love" (1933), well, it was not such a grand outing. (Don't get me wrong, I love Harold Arlen's work, but his singing, uh, not so much. And he COULD sing but without the distinctiveness he brought to his blues-infused melodies.)

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMath
    In just starting to play some standards, I'm pretty sure a very good way for me to internalize them will be finding good vocal performances of them. It must be something about how I operate, but tying the melody to lyrics and hearing them sung really helps me. For example, hearing Nat King Cole sing Autumn Leaves has really ingrained that tune into me. I think I'm also personally able to more fully appreciate a tune when I have a good vocal version for reference.

    Therefore, I was hoping to get recommendations of some of your favorite vocal performances of popular standards (commonly played on the guitar). Individual performances would be good, but it might be even more helpful if there is a particular album/collection I could purchase that would contain many such tunes.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
    it’s a good way to learn!

    Favourite vocal performance is not the same thing as being easy to learn from. For instance Billie Holiday is probably my favourite jazz singer but you can’t learn a tune from her.

    Frank, Ella and Nat will always feature highly but increasingly I’m seeking out the original or ‘legit’ music theatre or film soundtrack version of a song, if it has one, just for a very straight unadorned version of the melody.

    Often the style of these performances is almost classical, and it really helps nail down what the song is even though it’s not a genre I listen to for enjoyment particularly.

    Spotify and so on has made it simple to listen to a whole slew of versions back to back, which can be helpful.

  25. #24

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    (Except maybe Summertime, which I infinitely prefer in its original opera context than as a jazz vocal number, probably just to it being over done. Actually l love the original versions with Gershwin. But I’m really not into musicals...)

  26. #25

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    Billie Holiday may not be the way to learn the exact written melody, but she’s a great study in jazz. Her phrasing and use of microtonal intervals are pretty amazing. She didn’t even really have a beautiful voice, but there is certainly a reason why John Hammond said "Her singing almost changed my music tastes and my musical life, because she was the first girl singer I'd come across who actually sang like an improvising jazz genius."

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Anita O'Day does two of my favorite vocal versions of standards: "Honeysuckle Rose" and "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me." Incredible talent.
    Agree! Her version of Beautiful Love is my favorite for that song. I like the raspy edge to her voice. There's an interview by Terry Gross that's a great listen. A real firecracker!

    Lots of excellent suggestions here. Totally agree that knowing at least some of the lyrics and the vocal version really helps with feel and phrasing. Also makes keeping your place in the tune easier.

  28. #27

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    "Anyone here familiar with Clarence 'C.' Sharpe? He was a beautiful alto player (and person), originally out of Philly."

    of course, he's on Lee Morgan's 'Indeed' lp, he wound up doing a lot of busking in NY

    "
    Hoagy's real masterpiece is Winter Moon---and it's a delight to hear him sing it)"

    hmm, never heard of it





  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    I meant he [Hoagy Carmichael] projected Southern charm, affected or not. I know he was from the Midwest. I guess I should've stuck to Mercer--apologies.
    My mom, a Mississippi gal, is a big fan of Hoagy's. She's especially fond of this song.

  30. #29

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    If we're talking about composers who sang their own stuff, we have to mention Fats Waller.



    Speaking of which, are there recordings of Cole Porter singing his classic songs???

  31. #30

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    Jo Stafford.
    Some say she's not really a jazz singer, but I disagree



  32. #31

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    Someone above mentioned Mel Torme. His version of this is my favorite.


  33. #32

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    and maybe my favorite singer period, Carmen McRae


  34. #33

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    f you like Mel, this is a gem....


  35. #34

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    If I got stuck on a deserted island I'd only need this one...


  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Love the way Johnny sings this one


    But when Harold Arlen sang his own "Let's Fall In Love" (1933), well, it was not such a grand outing. (Don't get me wrong, I love Harold Arlen's work, but his singing, uh, not so much. And he COULD sing but without the distinctiveness he brought to his blues-infused melodies.)
    He started out as a cantor. Maybe he never really made the transition---vocally, that is. I know he was pianist in many jazz ensembles and loved blues (which, to me was always close in feeling and tone bending to Jewish religious music).

    In fact, if you read the interview with him in Max Wilk's highly recommended They're Playing Our Song, the success as a songwriter was something as an accident and afterthought. Arlen thought of himself as a blues singer...

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by WILSON 1
    If I got stuck on a deserted island I'd only need this one...

    I adore Nancy, this rendition---and recorded this in tribute.

    Whatever Jonathan Schwartz's foibles and bad behavior may be, I'll always thank him for turning me on to Nancy on his onetime WNYC radio show. When I heard her sing Autumn Leaves/When October goes with the sparse accompaniment of (I think) piano and cello, the feeling was so overpowering I had to pull to the side of the road for fear of losing it and crashing the car---no BS...

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    "Anyone here familiar with Clarence 'C.' Sharpe? He was a beautiful alto player (and person), originally out of Philly."

    of course, he's on Lee Morgan's 'Indeed' lp, he wound up doing a lot of busking in NY
    We did some of that busking, and a gig with a singer named Haze Laser (LOL---great guy, actually). We were tight buddies in the '80s---he and Tommy Turrentine were my main running buddies around Chelsea and hither and yon back then. (I finally paid tribute to their memories in Tommy & C.---which is being performed next Friday).

    C Sharpe actually recorded more than the Indeed disc (he was 18, Morgan 17!). He was on an Archie Shepp LP (For Losers) with his lady China Lynn Perault; on Freddie Redd's Lonely City---and a bunch of others. He WAS pitifully under-recorded, but there's some live stuff online if you google 105 minutes with C. Sharpe. A long set, and that one captures his uniqueness and spirit more than the studio recordings.

    He was the McCoy---honest and real, a true friend, and I'll miss him til the day I die...

  39. #38

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    And, no one has mentioned the incomparable songstress/pianist: Shirley Horn? This would be my desert island music. Good playing . . . Marinero



  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    I adore Nancy, this rendition---and recorded this in tribute.

    I had to pull to the side of the road for fear of losing it and crashing the car---no BS...

    HA LOL. I've got my GPS holder jammed into the single slot CD player in the car because I discovered that I can't listen to music and drive at the same time.

    Ha,ha... I thought I was the only one.

  41. #40

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    I'm not sure this was thought of as a standard before Peggy Lee sang it...


  42. #41

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    Julie London's take of "Cry Me A River" is definitive but this take of "I'm In The Mood For Love" (also w Barney Kessel on guitar) is my favorite.


  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by WILSON 1
    HA LOL. I've got my GPS holder jammed into the single slot CD player in the car because I discovered that I can't listen to music and drive at the same time.

    Ha,ha... I thought I was the only one.
    It's her instrument and passion. Makes you feel like making love---to her maybe. Just a honeyed voice, and no pretense of being a 'jazz' singer.

    When I heard of her passing away so young (43), I felt exactly as I did when I heard Natalie Cole had died: like crying...

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Speaking of which, are there recordings of Cole Porter singing his classic songs???
    Yes. Anything goes, with Cole at the piano and singing. Not sure where you'd find it (youtube?). Pretty sure it's a video...

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Archtop
    Great thread!

    Here you will find the great Monika Zetterlung with the (non lesser great !) Bill Evans trio (Eddie Gomez, Axel Riel).

    Unless you are fluent swedish, you can skip the intro till 01'04".



    And this one, with a delightful short rehearsal moment before they start at 01'28"

    Really nice!

    Is that her lyric on Waltz...or a Swedish Translation of Gene Lees's?

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Really nice!

    Is that her lyric on Waltz...or a Swedish Translation of Gene Lees's?
    And speaking of Once Upon a Summertime---a tune I've always thought masterful---one element besides Legrand's winsome melody is the lyric: it was written by a Frenchman (I'll look up his name) and IMO he's a much better match for Legrand's style than the Bergmans---who I don't love (except for the terrific job they did on Nice 'n' Easy---if they'd written more like that I'd love them to death)...

  47. #46

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    Mark Rhodes:


  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    And speaking of Once Upon a Summertime---a tune I've always thought masterful---one element besides Legrand's winsome melody is the lyric: it was written by a Frenchman (I'll look up his name) and IMO he's a much better match for Legrand's style than the Bergmans---who I don't love (except for the terrific job they did on Nice 'n' Easy---if they'd written more like that I'd love them to death)...
    Yes, my introduction to the tune long ago was by the criminally underrated and almost forgotten pianist, organist, accordionist, vocalist Joe Mooney. If you don't know him check him out...


  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    And, no one has mentioned the incomparable songstress/pianist: Shirley Horn? This would be my desert island music. Good playing . . . Marinero


    Good one Marinero - and count me as a real fan of Shirley H.

    I recall her getting a lot of airplay at one point on the jazz station in...um, dang...don't remember for sure at this point if it was in Nashville or Seattle....

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    Yes, my introduction to the tune long ago was by the criminally underrated and almost forgotten pianist, organist, accordionist, vocalist Joe Mooney. If you don't know him check him out...

    He was really good, but something about his style or sound sort of creeped me out, not sure what--just one of those things. But I have admittedly weird taste in singers. Not a huge fan of Mel Torme or Billy Eckstine either---and both were great. I do? love Torme's songwriting, especially Born to be Blue...

  51. #50

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