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  1. #1

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    Greetings, and thanks ahead of time for any opinions and/or suggestions.

    I have spent most of my time that past 30+ years listening to instrumental jazz, but recently have really wanted to start singing more, and adding some vocals to a solo set.

    My problem, other than listening to Sinatra, Dianne Krall and Nat Kin Cole I don't have a lot of back ground in vocalist to be either influenced or inspired by.

    So I was wondering if any here could provide a list of a few of their favorites that could help better introduce me to some great male vocalist that may help inspire this new passion and/or venture

    Thanks again!

    P.S. - And any specific CD's of someone playing in such a stripped down solo or duo style performance would be appreciated or welcomed as well
    Last edited by acoustictones; 10-23-2014 at 12:41 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Don't limit yourself to male vocalists. There's a lot to learn and be inspired by from singers like Ella, Billie Holliday, Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Lena Horn and more.

    That said, Tony Bennett is a classic (I actually prefer his later stuff because he "swings" more), and check out Louis Armstrong for his phrasing. Speaking of phrasing, Willie Nelson is actually quite an accomplished jazz guy, and his vocal phrasing on his jazz stuff is very very cool.

    And as a guitar player, I would be remiss if I didn't mention George Benson.

  4. #3

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    John Pizzarelli for both vocals and guitar.

  5. #4

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    Here is a little sample of me doing my thing. I don't know exactly how "inspirational" this is, but you should be able to hear a lot of classic influences in my vocal style. In particular, Sinatra, Bennett, with a hint of Ella and Nat "King" Cole are probably evident.


  6. #5

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    Check out the duos from Joe Pass and Ella Fitz and the two "My Name is Julie" discs from Julie London, one has Barney Kessel and the other has Howard Roberts (with a bass player on each as well).
    Brad

  7. #6

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    Vocal artist currently in heavy rotation on my iPod for inspiration:

    -Frank Sinatra
    -Dean Martin
    -Harry Connick Jr.
    -Nat King Cole Trio (Complete Capital Transcription Sessions - 71 songs)
    -Diana Krall
    -Ella Fitzgerald

  8. #7

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    Good call with the Harry Connick. The guy's got chops.

  9. #8

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    Don't listen to much male Jazz vocalists especially the old school ones, but do listen to some Jimmy Scott now and then. I like some of the newer male Jazzers like Jose James, Gregory Porter, Bilal. I when listening Jazz vocals old Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Nina Simone, Esther Phillips, Rachelle Ferrell, early Diana Krall, Gretchen Parlato, Luciana Souza. Big fan of Cassandra Wilson.

  10. #9

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    Just spend some time listening to the "Vocal Jazz Standards" Pandora station and note the people that you really like.

    Male:
    Louis Armstrong
    Bing Crosby
    Nat Cole
    Frank Sinatra
    Dean Martin
    Bobby Darin
    Mel Torme
    Joe Wilson

    Female:
    Billie Holiday
    Ella Fitzgerald
    Sarah Vaughan
    Julie London

    There are tons of amazing singers out there.

  11. #10

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    Loving the suggestions and names that are being thrown out there. Some great stuff that I have, but hadn't included on my playlist or iPod. Keep 'em comin' if there are any other favorites.

  12. #11

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    Shirley Horn and Joao Gilberto. Space, patience, time and elegance.

  13. #12

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    Chet Baker!
    Bobby McFerrin
    Kurt Elling
    Gregory Porter
    Michael Franks
    Al Jarreau
    Mose Allison

    Mos Def....

    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 10-25-2014 at 12:43 AM.

  14. #13

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    Kevin Mahagony , among current singers, is outstanding.

    Further back, Billy Eckstein, Johnny Hartman

  15. #14

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    Sarah Vaughn/ Anita O'day, Ella Fitzgerald, Beverly kenney, etc..........

  16. #15

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    EightString, nice voice. nice singing.

  17. #16

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    Kurt Elling. Gretchen Parlato. And minneapolis local girl Maud Hixson who has a clean and direct way of delivering the song. Maud was my next door neighbor when she was just starting out.

  18. #17

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    Norma Winstone.

  19. #18

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    Patti with Tuck and Patti has some great lines as well. I hadn't listened to her in a few years, but liked what I heard yesterday while spinning some old tracks with Tuck.

    Also George Benson has been fun to dig into again. I'm usually listening to more of his guitar work, but I have been paying more attention to some of his vocals and scatting the past week. Great stuff indeed.

  20. #19

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    Louis Armstrong
    Frank Sinatra
    Peggy Lee
    Julie London
    Nat Cole
    Rosemary Clooney
    Bing Crosby
    Bobby Darrin
    Tony Bennett
    Dean Martin
    Harry Connick Jr.
    Hoagy Carmichael
    Lena Horne
    Jane Monheit
    Jo Stafford
    Mel Torme
    Johnny Hartman
    Judy Garland
    Mildred Bailey
    Ann Hampton Callaway
    Sarah Vaughn

  21. #20

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    Yeah, I dig Harry Connick Jr. and George Benson too.

    Ella Fitzgerald and George Benson's scatting chops and jazz vocabulary are pretty much out of this world if you're looking for that aspect of jazz vocalists. Ella is the real deal, imho. Who are the other vocalists that have the jazz improvisation scatting skills that these two have? (for my own listening opportunities).

  22. #21

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    On heavy rotation on my iPod is Steve Tyrell (Standard Time, A New Standard). Cool, raspy delivery with superb arrangements of many of my favorite tunes. Hell, even I can sound like him.

    I had cast about for a while for modern Female vocalists that appealed to me. I love Stacey Kent because she can sing in French (!), and has a great small band that sounds like they are playing in a club. No lush strings or big band arrangements.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Yeah, I dig Harry Connick Jr. and George Benson too.

    Ella Fitzgerald and George Benson's scatting chops and jazz vocabulary are pretty much out of this world if you're looking for that aspect of jazz vocalists. Ella is the real deal, imho. Who are the other vocalists that have the jazz improvisation scatting skills that these two have? (for my own listening opportunities).
    Dizzy Gillespie was a ridiculous scatter if you can find the few examples. He sings on a couple of tunes in his discography and was pretty awesome. I've never understood why he didn't sing more.

    Obviously Louis Armstrong, who invented it.

    Mel Torme is incredibly good at it, too.

  24. #23

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    I'm just nuts about Gregory Porter right now.

  25. #24

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    I listen to instrumental jazz almost exclusively, too. But here are the names that came to my mind:

    TUCK & PATTI - the best vocal/guitar duo ever
    Joe & Ella - were already named
    Friend & Fellow - close to T&P but with acoustic guitar
    Check out Kenny Poole with Liz Anthony. Again female vocals but Kenny is a monster on guitar!!!

    Torsten Goods - a german singer/guitarist. I just know that he sings, but haven't checked him out.
    Nils Landgren
    Sting
    Cory Sea is an unknown guy I stumbled upon on Youtube.
    There are duo videos of Ron Eschete with Dewey Erney on youtube. I don't really like the vocals but check it yourself.

  26. #25

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    Anita Wardell. A musician whose instrument is her voice.

    +1 Stacey Kent

  27. #26

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    Theo Bleckmann and Dominique Eade are both vocalists with vocal technique, compositional sense, harmonic and melodic vocabulary and range of any instrumentalist. Considered modern, they are both pushing the boundries and solid in the core of the vocal traditions. Improvisers of the highest order. Also have to say I love Mark Murphy, Jill Seifers and Rebecca Martin
    David




  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz

    Wow! I almost cannot imagine having the ears and vocal control to pull that off. There's no hiding behind finger patterns, etc--you gotta know exactly what you're doing all the time. Thanks for posting!

  29. #28

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    I'm more old school, so :
    Sinatra (the Capitol records era, preferably), Nat 'King' Cole, Tony Bennett, Johnny Hartman (well worth seeking out his material !), Mel Torme, Joe Williams (Count Basie), Al Hibbler, Billy Eckstine, Arthur Prysock and Brook Benton, the latter made quite a few LP's of standards and his phrasing and control are exceptional.
    Sarah Vaughan, Ella, Dinah, Billy, Julie London, early Jubilee recordings of Della Reese (Yes, that Della Reese !), Esther Phillips, Carmen McCrae, Nancy Wilson and Aretha Franklin's commercially unsuccessful, but artistically good early Columbia recordings that featured many covers of standards.

    Many of these artist's material can be heard on You tube and it's a great way to peruse, listen and separate the wheat from the chaff, if you will !

  30. #29

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    You missed One! "Beverly Kenney" A vocal talent gone too soon.

    wiz

  31. #30

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    The godfather of Vocalese: Mr. Jon Hendricks - 90+ and still performing!!!

    I like Curtis Stigers too - he's also a fine tenor player.

  32. #31
    Surprised to see no mention so far of Fred Astaire. Great understated singing that really swings.

    Apparently, he could dance a bit as well!

  33. #32

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    Gregory Porter Kurt Elling Joe Williams George Benson are my favorites.

  34. #33

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    New t o the list:
    Diane Schur
    Madeleine Peyroux

    A big second or third to:
    Kevin Mahogany
    Nancy Wilson
    Nina Simone

    And the top of my list:
    Patti Cathcart (Tuck and Patti)

    Yeah, mostly females. Oh well....

  35. #34

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    There are lots of great singers, but Nina Simone is the one I love the most. And she's a fantastic jazz pianist as well.
    Last edited by teok; 12-08-2014 at 06:16 PM.

  36. #35

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    The great Carmen McCrae and Nina Simone. The underappreciated Abbey Lincoln.

    Diana Krall. Really? Can I even mention her as a footnote to these greats? She sold more records, sure. Jazz singer? She is like Gerry Cooney, The Great White Hope, back when Muhammed Ali, George Foremen, Joe Frazier were Kings. And the great Sonny Liston whose brilliant December 1963 cover for Esquire in a Father Christmas cap "scared America because he is the last man on earth America wants to find sliding down your chimney". Anybody remembers Joe Bugner?
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 12-09-2014 at 12:13 AM.

  37. #36

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    I don't begrudge any musician their success. I wish Diana Krall all the best, but I don't enjoy her music.

  38. #37

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    Nat Cole!!!!!

  39. #38

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    Couple of more singers---admittedly not middle of the road but inspiring

    If you're an instrumentalist, you should check out Eddie Jefferson. Manhattan Transfer dedicated their early albums to him and it's interesting to see how he takes classic instrumental versions of jazz tunes and vocalizes them...tells you something about the original (instrumental) line and the human voice...with him, maybe jazz has come full circle---instrumentalists emulating the human voice, and now the circle is completed.

    Also Ursula Dudziak---Polish female singer with amazing range (4.5 octaves, maybe more ?!) who played in 70's with her husband Michael Urbaniak and Adam Mackovicz....very pure voice.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdazey
    I don't begrudge any musician their success. I wish Diana Krall all the best, but I don't enjoy her music.
    I said she sold more records but that was not an issue. I don't begrudge her selling more records but she is no jazz singer. While I don't wish her ill I don't wish her the best either. No reason for me to. She is neither friend nor family.

    Michael Bublé sits a lot better with me because Bublé does not pretend to be jazz. Krall does and that offends me with her "jazz" affectations. Tits over Talent. Average singer. Average pianist. Blonde and not too shabby-looking. Marketing execs' dream.

    Caveat: The sound and fury represents my own rancour and does not impinge on nor impugn your right to feel otherwise about Krall. Krall gets my craw.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 12-10-2014 at 01:46 AM. Reason: My gramma's missing.

  41. #40

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    'Jazz singer' is an oxymoron.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Yeah, I dig Harry Connick Jr. and George Benson too.

    Ella Fitzgerald and George Benson's scatting chops and jazz vocabulary are pretty much out of this world if you're looking for that aspect of jazz vocalists. Ella is the real deal, imho. Who are the other vocalists that have the jazz improvisation scatting skills that these two have? (for my own listening opportunities).
    well Al Jarreau for one. He can be a bit corny but check out his version of Spain, released in about 1980. man i remember the LA jazz radio station playing the hell out of that thing. a huge jazz hit.

  43. #42

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    Johnny Hartman has been mentioned but i will second that and recommend a particular CD - John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman. I read an article years ago that called it the greatest jazz album of all time. anyway, it's a must.

    http://www.amazon.com/John-Coltrane-.../dp/B0018RWD6S


    i also liked big Joe Williams from the Basie band. He was always great when he came on the Carson show. Now and then I'll hear him in a restaurant or other commercial location and think how great he sounds compared to so many of the contemporary "jazz singers".

  44. #43

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    i saw Cecile Mclorin Salvant this fall. pretty darned good.

  45. #44

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    Hi,

    Al jarreau, Youn Sun Nah, Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater, David Linx, Stacey Kent, Bobby McFerrin...

  46. #45

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    Lambert, hendricks and ross, wonderful trio with awesome musicians in their recordings.

  47. #46

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  48. #47

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    Has Betty Carter been mentioned?

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    I said she sold more records but that was not an issue. I don't begrudge her selling more records but she is no jazz singer. While I don't wish her ill I don't wish her the best either. No reason for me to. She is neither friend nor family.

    Michael Bublé sits a lot better with me because Bublé does not pretend to be jazz. Krall does and that offends me with her "jazz" affectations. Tits over Talent. Average singer. Average pianist. Blonde and not too shabby-looking. Marketing execs' dream.

    Caveat: The sound and fury represents my own rancour and does not impinge on nor impugn your right to feel otherwise about Krall. Krall gets my craw.
    I quite like Diana Krall's records, but perhaps more for the bands she puts together and her piano playing, which I like. In terms of the singing, while I like her voice, I find she doesn't give the words quite enough respect for my personal taste, so her phrasing comes across as a bit contrived. TBH a few current 'jazz' singers sound a bit contrived phrasing wise to my ears.

    I think to sing the song simply as Sinatra and Ella while swinging is much, much harder than it sounds, which is of course why pop singers fall down when they try it.

    At the moment, Billie Holiday is completely rocking my world. I know it's obvious, but the precision of her timing and phrasing and the way it links to the words is just unique.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-24-2014 at 01:35 PM.

  50. #49

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    I prefer Frank Sinatra. His phrasing is impeccable. Don't forget Sarah Vaughan as well as
    Ella Fitzgerald....scat singing....also Anita O'day.

    Earl

  51. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz
    Theo Bleckmann and Dominique Eade are both vocalists with vocal technique, compositional sense, harmonic and melodic vocabulary and range of any instrumentalist. Considered modern, they are both pushing the boundries and solid in the core of the vocal traditions. Improvisers of the highest order. Also have to say I love Mark Murphy, Jill Seifers and Rebecca Martin
    David



    This girl is good but she was obviously influenced by this version...which in my opinion is the standard.

    Last edited by OldGuitarPlayer; 02-02-2015 at 11:47 AM.