Jazz has been a popular musical style since the latter years of the nineteenth century. It has deep origins in the African-American culture of New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, it has dramatically extended beyond that area, becoming a widely-appreciated genre all around the world.
Jazz was spread to a range of audiences worldwide in the 1920s with the advent of the Jazz Age. The innovative music genre has been influenced by a large number of eminent jazz singers, including several outstanding female vocalists.
Many notable female singers who have made significant musical contributions are products of the jazz genre. It is pretty challenging to narrow it down to just five of the best female jazz vocalists.
However, no matter how long a list is, there are some people who have gained enough prominence to be included in it without anyone having to think twice. Women who have distinct voices and have brought a unique perspective to this artform. Women you may or may not have come across. But, are female singers you really should listen to, if you love vocal Jazz! These are the names of five female musicians who have made a distinctive and significant contribution to jazz music.
Diana Jean Krall, a jazz singer and pianist of international renown, was born to Adella and Stephen James Krall in Nanaimo, British Columbia on November 16, 1964. Krall started playing the piano at the age of four. She was given a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston after she graduated from high school.
With the help of Jell Hamilton and John Clayton, she released the 1993 album Stepping Out, which grabbed the ear of Tommy LiPuma, with whom she later collaborated on the 1995 release “Only Trust Your Heart.” Krall’s third album, All for You: A Dedication to Nat King Cole, was published in 1996, garnered a Grammy nomination, and topped the Billboard jazz charts for an incredible 70 weeks. Diana Krall is known for her sultry contralto vocals, her smooth & swinging phrasing, and her exceptional jazz piano. She has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, including over six million in the US.
Dakota Staton, who was born on June 3, 1930 outside of Pittsburgh, started singing and dancing at a young age and later attended the Filion School of Music.
Ms. Staton, known for her bright, trumpet-like sound and tough, sassy style, established herself in the music industry in 1957 when Capitol Records published The Late, Late Show, her debut full-length record. Her most well-known song is the album’s title song, which was also a hit. She had other famous songs, including “Broadway,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “What Do You Know About Love,” which she previously released as a single for Capitol. These tracks are all from the same album.
Sadly, she passed away Tuesday, April 10, 2007. Her health had been deteriorating for a while.
Dianne Reeves is an American jazz vocalist who was one of the genre’s newer pioneers in the 1980s. She was born on October 23, 1956.
A five-time Grammy winner, Dianne Reeves is one of the finest jazz singers in the world. Known for her eclectic song styling, her music introduces fans to a new realm that blends jazz with pop, world music, and African-inspired folk music.
Reeves won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings (unprecedented for any vocal category) thanks to her astonishing talent, mastery of improvisation, and distinctive vocal stylings.
Reeves earned the Best Jazz Vocal Grammy for the soundtrack of George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck, which was also nominated for six Academy Awards.
Margrethe Blossom Dearie was born in East Durham, upstate New York, in 1924. Given her name, it makes sense that she would go on to become famous.
Blossom Dearie began learning the piano as a young child and then switched to jazz as a teenager.
Kissing Jessica Stein, My Life Without Me, The Squid and the Whale, The Adventures of Felix, and The Artist are just a few of the movies that feature Dearie’s voice and music. Along with Lyle Lovett, she collaborated on other tunes with performers. In clubs till 2006, she kept on performing. “Peel Me A Grape,” “I’m Hip,” and “Quality Time” were among her most frequently requested tracks.
Dearie passed away of natural causes “in her sleep” in Greenwich Village, New York City, on February 7, 2009, “after a protracted illness” and “failing health.”
Julie London, an American singer, composer, and actress, recorded a lot of music and has more than 30 jazz and pop albums to her credit. London was the classic definition of a torch singer— known for her sultry, languid contralto vocals.
She recorded her final album in 1981, although her onstage career lasted for almost 40 years. She was inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001. She passed away in 2000.
Cry Me a River, one of the greatest jazz songs ever, is her most stunning record.
Whether you’re a jazz singer searching for inspiration or simply a listener of the music, I hope this short list of some of the best female jazz vocalists has given you some fresh suggestions for your next listening session!