10 of the best jazz singers of all time



There has always been a cool, sweet swagger around jazz music. Originally designed for dancing, this musical genre has developed its truly indefinable identity through the evolution of talented musical improvisations. Following the beat of the beat, jazz music stems from a blend of African-American musical traditions in the blues, folk and swing genres.

Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, the sounds of jazz almost represent history and the importance of its diversity in all its aspects. From the late 19th century, New Orleans played a key role in its development as the city’s population was the most diverse in the South. People of African, French, Caribbean, Italian, German, Mexican, Native American and English descent contributed to what defined the urban culture of New Orleans, which in a way, can also symbolically represent the diversity of all parts and instruments of jazz. music.

Jazz musicians include saxophonists, trumpeters, pianists, guitarists, bassists and drummers; all experts with instruments capable of emphasizing and following rhythmic improvisations. However, we must not forget that if jazz could be defined by one aspect of itself, it would be jazz singers. So, out of all the talent in jazz music, here is a list of 10 of the best jazz singers of all time.

10. Mose Allison (1927-2016)

The way this Mississippi singer-songwriter played jazz music was unique. Her voice went against the grain by delivering her lighter, simpler voice through more elegantly lively tunes. The combination of his slight southern, conversational inflection with a hint of blues is what defined him as a great jazz artist.

9. Helen Merrill (1930-)

This New York native’s real name is Jelena Milcetic, and she is of Croatian ancestry. His rise to fame began in the early 1950s singing with famous jazz pianist Earl Hines. Her voice is described “like the sonorous equivalent of golden and drizzled honey” with its more acute, soft and soft tones.

8. Kurt Elling (1967-)

Born in Chicago, Elling was considered one of the best jazz singers in contemporary jazz. Not only was he a scat singer and able to improvise with his voice as jazz musicians normally do, but he was also known to have written his own original material with moving force.

7. Julie London (1926-2000)

Showcasing a smokier and more sultry tone, this Californian actress became known for her iconic 1956 recording of Arthur Hamilton’s “Cry Me a River”. Her voice painting romance and intimacy in this cover art has sold 3 million copies, making her highly respected in the jazz community.


6. Ray Charles (1930-2004)

Although one of the founding fathers of what is now soul music, the talented blind artist was also an incredible jazz musician. He was a saxophonist and pianist, with R&B inspired vocals originally taking after Nat? King? Cole. Nicknamed “The Genius”, Charles found his own vocal sounds in the 1950s.

5. Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)

Hailing from New Orleans, this expert trumpeter introduced his expert in improvisation in the 1920s. However, his voice separated him from normal jazz singers, making him increasingly incredibly popular. Nicknamed “Satchmo”, he is also known for his biggest worldwide hit in the 1960s, “What a Wonderful World”.

4. Billie Holiday (1915-1959)

The poignant hint of calm that contributes to what defines jazz music comes from this incredibly influential jazz singer from Philly. She started singing in the big band era, but forged her own path with her characteristic melancholy voice. Her unique tone was defined by a sense of pain and sadness attributed to her difficult life as a child prostitute and later to drug addiction. She had a major influence on female jazz artists.

3. Nat? Roi? Cole (1919-1965)

This incredible pianist has become famous for his iconically soft and velvety voice. Also known for forming the “Route 66” jazz trio, the Alabama native originally had a few R&B hits. In 1956, he became the first African-American artist to host a variety television show. But he will always be known for his passion for jazz.

2. Frank Sinatra (1916-1998)

Considered one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century, the “Chairman of the Board” received this nickname when he started Reprise Records in an attempt to keep artists in control. creative and property / publication rights to their music. He was known to have defined his fame as a musical artist by drawing inspiration from “The Great American Songbook”, which in turn iconically made him known as a jazz artist for his sophisticated voice.

1. Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

The “first lady of the song” from Virginia was known for her flawless performance of clear and pure eloquence, painted in silky and refined tones. A skilled scat singer, her ability to improvise with her voice matched that of a professional jazz instrumentalist, setting a standard rooted in the art of jazz.

And these are just some of the best jazz singers of all time. Many influential musicians deserve to be on this list as well, including the following: Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Duke Ellington, Betty Carter, Johnny Hartman, Dinah Washington, Carmen Mcrae, Peggy Lee, Billy Eckstine, Jon Hendricks, Dizzy Gillespie, Etta James, and more.

And the best thing about this exhaustive list of names that to represent the face of jazz? The celebration of diversity to which each of these artists contributed, defining the meaning of this historically full musical genre.


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