Skip to comments.The Mix: 50 Great Jazz Vocals
Posted on 02/09/2013 9:06:05 AM PST by nickcarraway
50 Great Jazz Vocals is a crowdsourced list of the 50 most popular jazz vocal recordings of all time, as determined by the listeners of NPR Music, Jazz24.org and KPLU in Seattle. We asked jazz lovers all over the world to vote for their favorites. When the results were in, the thousands of votes were tabulated, and this list is the result. You can take a look at the list below or, better yet, dive into the webstream, kick back and listen to all 50 Great Jazz Vocals. According to our listeners, it doesn't get any better than this.
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50 Great Jazz Vocals: The List
1. Billie Holiday, "Strange Fruit"
2. Johnny Hartman & John Coltrane, "Lush Life"
3. Billie Holiday, "God Bless the Child"
4. Ella Fitzgerald, "How High the Moon"
5. Ella Fitzgerald, "Mack the Knife"
6. Etta James, "At Last"
7. Louis Armstrong, "What a Wonderful World"
8. Chet Baker, "My Funny Valentine"
9. Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto, "Girl From Ipanema" 10. Peggy Lee, "Fever"
11. Sarah Vaughan, "Lullaby of Birdland"
12. Ella Fitzgerald, "Summertime"
13. The Manhattan Transfer, "Birdland"
14. Johnny Hartman & John Coltrane, "My One and Only Love"
15. Nina Simone, "I Loves You, Porgy"
16. Ella Fitzgerald, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket"
17. Joe Williams with Count Basie & His Orchestra, "Everyday I Have the Blues"
18. Billie Holiday, "Autumn in New York"
19. Sarah Vaughan, "Misty"
20. Ella Fitzgerald, "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"
21. Nina Simone, "Feeling Good"
22. Billie Holiday, "Fine and Mellow"
23. Nina Simone, "My Baby Just Cares for Me"
24. Nat King Cole, "Route 66"
25. Frank Sinatra, "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)"
26. Ella Fitzgerald, "Blue Skies"
27. June Christy, "Something Cool"
28. Ray Charles, "Georgia on My Mind"
29. Frank Sinatra, "I've Got You Under My Skin"
30. Anita O'Day, "Sweet Georgia Brown"
31. Billie Holiday, "All of Me"
32. Louis Armstrong, "Black and Blue"
33. Susannah McCorkle, "The Waters of March"
34. Frank Sinatra, "Fly Me to the Moon"
35. Billie Holiday, "Good Morning Heartache"
36. Louis Armstrong & Oscar Peterson, "You Go to My Head"
37. Clark Terry, "Mumbles"
38. Billie Holiday, "My Man"
39. Diana Krall, "Peel Me a Grape"
40. Nat King Cole, "Unforgettable"
41. Nat King Cole, "Stardust"
42. Chet Baker, "Let's Get Lost"
43. Billie Holiday, "Lover Man"
44. Ella Fitzgerald, "Someone to Watch Over Me"
45. Eva Cassidy, "Autumn Leaves"
46. Johnny Hartman & John Coltrane, "They Say It's Wonderful"
47. Les McCann & Eddie Harris, "Compared To What"
48. Julie London, "Cry Me a River"
49. Cab Calloway, "Minnie the Moocher"
50. Nat King Cole, "Nature Boy"
No Peggy Lee?
I call foul!
Great list! I like all of them. You might do a separate Blues list starting with Mississippi John Hurt.
Here's the follow-up:
I Found My Yellow Basket--Chick Webb & His Orchestra (with Ella Fitzgerald) (1938)
I call foul!
Foul ball!! I agree.
I call foul!
10. Peggy Lee, "Fever"
50 worst inventions:
1. “Best” lists.
50. “Best lists.
Interesting—3 of the 50 songs are from the same album: “John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.” Particularly interesting when you consider that the album consists of only 6 songs. #14—”My One and Only Love” is my personal favorite.
Here is a review on Amazon:
This is one of the three all-ballad albums that John Coltrane recorded in late 1962 and early 1963. Johnny Hartman was apparently Coltrane’s suggestion, and his deep, dark voice meshes perfectly here with Coltrane’s tenor. The material is well-chosen, including definitive readings of “My One and Only Love” and “Lush Life.” McCoy Tyner fills out the chords, augmenting the harmonies and keeping the tone of these ballads respectful but not overly sentimental. All the players get to the deep structure of the songs and are not afraid to play in the most essential and elegant manner. This is beautiful jazz. —Michael Monhart
It was a match made in heaven: Hartman’s beautiful baritone voice and Coltrane’s exploratory yet empathetic tenor sax. This 1963 Impulse LP is a career highlight for both these jazz giants!
No Bobby Darin Mack the Knife?
(but truth be told, i would try to squeeze Dean Martin onto any list, no matter the category)...
i agree! his rendition of Mac the Knife is my favorite! and i think his Beyond the Sea ought to be on the list... Louie Armstrong's Mac the Knife is my second favorite rendition...
First define what you consider a “jazz vocal”, then define what you consider “great”, because some on the list are what I’d consider pop, and not so “great” at that! Your tax dollars at work.
Also, "Moanin' Low," by Libby Holman.
How about something by Annette Hanshaw. "Stormy Weather," or something by Ethel Waters.
Rock and Roll by the Boswell Sisters (1934): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b5oWwFUhN0
Absolutely! The very thought of it makes my heart sing.
Well said!!! Kudos...Your point expresses my amazement at seeing Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” on the list. I can easily think of a half dozen Sinatra songs far more deserving..
Couldn’t agree more. Not a single tune by the best crooner of them all, Dean-o....horsecrap list...
yes! Evening in Roma... Return to Me... Volare'
And no Mel Torme.
A couple young and very good performers, not mentioned in the list:
If Joni Mitchell isn’t on the list, I question how well the popularity of these songs reflects their quality.
“Twisted” from the Court and Spark album is just all-time great, even if it was originally recorded by Lambert, Hendricks, and whoever.
Also, I need to get Joni Mitchell’s Mingus album on CD soon, because my cassette is about shot.
My vote: Ella Fitzgerald, Black Coffee.
My favorite Peggy Lee song...
oh gosh! yes! and i want Ertha Kitt on the list too!
I’m confessin’ that I like it.
Jack Teagarden-Loveless Love
i agree! his rendition of Mac the Knife is my favorite! and i think his Beyond the Sea ought to be on the list... Louie Armstrong’s Mac the Knife is my second favorite rendition...
You hit the nail on the head!!! All those were great!!
Well, don’t hold out on us. Which ones?
October 1966 - Ella Fitzgerald with the Duke Ellington Orchestra at the Westbury Music Fair in New York. I was just a kid brought along with my parents. All I knew at the time was Tisket Tasket.
September 1996 - Joe Wiliams with Tony Bennett at the Concord Pavillion in California.
June 1995 - Ray Charles at Wente Vineyards in Pleasanton, California.
What happened to the rest of this thread, it was longer than it’s now?!
Chet Baker, perhaps the greatest talent squandered by drugs, ever.
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