Vocalists — CDs

XSingers we love -- from vintage torch to vocalese, scat, jazz poetry, standards, and more!

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Lorez AlexandriaThis Is Lorez/Lorez Sings Pres ... CD
King/BGP (UK), 1957. Used ... $5.99
Incredible early work from Lorez Alexandria – the kind of albums that instantly set her apart from other singers of the 50s, reissued here properly for the first time in years! On This Is Lorez, the singer is working with sublime small combo backings from the group of pianist King Fleming – an unusual Chicago ensemble that includes Wilber Wynn on guitar, Ronald Wilson on flute and oboe, Vernel Fournier on drums, and Audrey Jones on bongos – a musical lineup that brings in a different sort of sophistication to the record, shading tunes with moody colors on flute and oboe that perfectly support Alexandria's soulful and sensitive interpretations of the tunes. The whole thing is pure genius, and a key look at the new levels of sophistication that were bubbling everywhere on the Chicago scene during the years of Jamal and Sun Ra. Lorez Sings Pres follows in a very similar mode – with backing by a Chicago group that again includes King Fleming piano, plus Charles Stepney on vibes, Paul Serrano on trumpet, and Vernel Fournier on drums – an extremely hip lineup that makes the record far more than just the Lester Young tribute promised in the title! But despite the instrumentalists, the real star on all sides is Alexandria – who sings with dark tones and deep colors that go far beyond conventional jazz vocals – all carried off with that slightly breathy mode that was one more unique aspect of her work! CD features all tracks from both albums – a total of 22 titles that include "Snowstorm", "I'm Glad There Is You", "The Sky Is Crying", "I'm Making Believe", "Necessity", "Penthouse Serenade", "DB Blues", "This Year's Kisses", "Easy Living", "No Eyes Blues", "Jumping With Symphony Sid", and a key early reading of "Baltimore Oriole". CD
Also available This Is Lorez/Lorez Sings Pres ... CD 10.99
 
Partial matches: 20
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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
June ChristySomething Cool (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Capitol, 1953. Used ... $1.99
From its booze-soaked title cut, to its haunting selection of lonely ballads like "Midnight Sun" and "Stranger Called The Blues", this is one of the most fantastic vocal jazz albums of all time – and a record that we'd recommend instantly to anyone! June Christy has an incredibly icy tone on the record, filled with sorrow, regret, and loneliness – all of which are amplified even more deeply by Pete Rugolo's eerie, off-kilter arrangements. And, on this CD reissue, you'll also hear the pair in a whopping amount of extra material, pulled from singles and albums issued around the same time, for a total of 24 cuts in all. Titles include "Magazines", "Whee Baby", "I'm Thrilled", "Out Of Somewhere", and "The Night We Called It A Day". Fantastic stuff! CD
(Out of print, BMG music club pressing.)

Partial matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
June ChristySomething Cool (Mono & Stereo) ... CD
Capitol, 1953. Used ... $1.99
From its booze-soaked title cut, to its haunting selection of lonely ballads like "Midnight Sun" and "Stranger Called The Blues", this is one of the most fantastic vocal jazz albums of all time – and a record that we'd recommend instantly to anyone! June Christy has an incredibly icy tone on the record, filled with sorrow, regret, and loneliness – all of which are amplified even more deeply by Pete Rugolo's eerie, off-kilter arrangements. Titles include "Something Cool", "It Could Happen To You", "Lonely House", "I'm Thrilled", and "The Night We Called It A Day". Plus, this special CD reissue features the mono and stereo recordings of the album – completely different ones, as the album was originally recorded in mono in 1954, and completely re-recorded again with the same arrangements in 1960! CD

Partial matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Brigitte Fontaine & Art Ensemble of ChicagoComme A La Radio ... CD
Saravah (France), 1970. Used ... $9.99
One of the coolest albums ever recorded – a legendary meeting between the Art Ensemble Of Chicago and inventive French singer Brigitte Fontaine! The set was recorded at the end of the 60s in Paris, and it perfectly sums up all of the incredible energy bubbling out of the post-68 years – an openness to new music, new ideas, and new forms of expression – presented here in an open, honest way that only the Saravah label could muster! Fontaine's vocals are wonderful – soft-sung and spoken, with a style that's like that of a more artful and poetic Jane Birkin – and the backings from the Art Ensemble are some of their most sensitive ever – very balanced and conscious of sound, in ways that make us wish they'd recorded a lot more like this. There's never a dull moment on the record, and the set is honestly one of the reasons we first got into this business in the first place – the kind of life-changing record that's a real honor for us to stock. Frequent Fontaine partner Areski joins in on a few tracks, and titles include "Comme A La Radio", "L'Ete L'Ete", "Le Brouillard", "Tanka II", "Leo", and "Les Petits Chevaux". (French, Vocalists) CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Eydie GormeDon't Go To Strangers/Softly As I Leave You ... CD
GL, 1966/1967. Used ... $11.99
A great double-header – especially since both albums are top-shelf! Don't Go To Strangers is a 60s classic from Eydie Gorme – and a set that showed the world that she had a lot more to offer than just some peppy duets with Steve Lawrence! Sure, Eydie had sung on her own before – and often did a pretty darn great job – but this album really takes off with a new sort of maturity – one that comes through in the title, and in Gorme's all-adult readings of the tunes – with a poise, care, and class that we're not sure we'd heard on records from her before. Don Costa handles the arrangements superbly – and titles include "What Did I Have That I Don't Have", "If He Walked Into My Life", "Don't Go To Strangers", "How Did He Look", "When He Leaves You", and "Tell Him I Said Hello". Softly As I Leave You is great second-period work from Eydie Gorme – one of the wonderfully mature 60s albums when she was really developing herself as a singer! The album's got a careful sort of poise – emotive, but never overdone – and arranged to perfection by Don Costa, in ways that are even more sensitive to Eydie's strengths than his previous work with the singer. Titles include "Every Time We Say Goodbye", "What's Good About Goodbye", "Guess I Should Have Loved Him More", "Softly As I Leave You", and "All Alone". CD

Partial matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Jeanne Lee & Ran BlakeNewest Sound Around ... CD
RCA (France), 1961. Used ... $22.99
An eerie album of modern jazz vocals – featuring the haunting voice of Jeanne Lee with the dark piano of Ran Blake. Most tracks feature only the two of them in duet – but a few feature Lee solo, and a few others have George Duvivier backing the pair up on bass. We like this stuff a lot better than much of Lee's later work – as it's still very much in a traditional jazz vocal realm, just pushed off-kilter a few notches or two, and painted with more abstract colors than usual. Lee's voice is nicely restrained, and has a dark Abbey Lincoln quality to it at the best moments. Titles include "Church On Russel Street", "Laura", "Love Isn't Everything", "Lover Man", "Season In The Sun", and "When Sunny Gets Blue". Plus, this CD reissue features 4 bonus cuts – including "Straight Ahead", "Vanguard", and "Left Alone". CD
(Out of print. Digipack has some wear.)

Partial matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Carmen McRaeAny Old Time (Jazz Heritage pressing) ... CD
Denon/Jazz Heritage, 1986. Used ... $6.99
A warm later set from Carmen McRae – recorded with great small combo jazz backing that features tenor sax work from Clifford Jordan! The album's a real back-to-basics one for McRae – and gets away from crossover modes used in the 60s and 70s, taking Carmen back to the more jazz-based sound of her earliest records – but going even one further by bringing in Jordan, since Carmen mostly started out with straight trio backing. Other players include Eric Gunnison on piano and John Collins on guitar – and the tunes themselves are mostly standards, sung with impeccable phrasing. Titles include "Tulip Or Turnip", "Body & Soul", "I Hear Music", "This Is Always", "It Could Happen To You", "Old Devil Moon", and "Have You Met Miss Jones". CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 (Japanese pressing) ... CD
A&M (Japan), 1966. Used ... $9.99
The start of a legend – and the very first album by Sergio Mendes' Brasil 66 group, proudly brought to the world through the godlike talents of a young Herb Alpert! Sergio was no stranger to the recording studio by the time of this set, but the record marked a real shift in his music – a change from the mostly-instrumental bossa modes he first forged back in Brazil, and a shift to warmer, sweeter pop with a nice sunny California finish – done through unique production techniques and the group's trademark two-lady lead vocals! The sound is tremendous, and is possibly heard in its purest form here – simple, focused, and given that near-perfect A&M sound through Herb's production skills. Titles include the classics "Daytripper", "Aqua De Beber", "O Pato", "Berimbau", "Mas Que Nada", and "The Joker". (Brazil, Vocalists) CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Terry CallierNew Folk Sound Of Terry Callier (expanded edition) ... CD
Prestige, 1964. Used ... $6.99
Terry Callier's first album – recorded in 1964 when he was a wee teen hanging around Chicago's folk scene! As the title indicates, the album's definitely got a folk-styled sound – but also as the "new" implies, it's got a sound all it's own, fresh and free – and that sound is the genius that is Terry Callier! This is very stripped down material, very dark and brooding – a good chance to hear Terry before he hit the Chess studios and they backed him up with a lot of orchestrations (although we love the orchestrations, too.) The material has a soulful spiritual feel, and is sung with a lot of passion over acoustic guitar. Think of Nina Simone's folksier stuff from the same time, if you need a reference. Tracks include "900 Miles", "Cotton Eyed Joe", "It's About Time", "Promenade In Green", and "I'm A Drifter". This expanded edition includes 3 bonus tracks – "Be My Woman", "Jack O' Diamonds", and "The Golden Apples Of The Sun"! (Soul, Vocalists) CD

Partial matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dizzy Gillespie & The Double Six Of ParisDizzy Gillespie & The Double Six Of Paris ... CD
Philips, 1963. Used ... $7.99
A rare 60s meeting of groovy talents from both sides of the Atlantic – and a record that matches the trumpet of Dizzy Gillespie with the hiply swinging vocals of The Double Six Of Paris! The group were a wonderfully groovy precursor to the Swingle Singers – and sung in a scatting approach to jazz vocals that was very much in the tradition of Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross – but also drew inspiration from the earlier work of Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, and others. Their sound is great – much more 60s groovy than some other vocal groups – and pairing them with Dizzy gives this record an added punch that some of their other sessions are missing! Backing is small combo throughout – with either Bud Powell or Kenny Barron on piano, Kenny Clarke on drums, and James Moody on tenor – and with the presence of Diz, most of the material here is of bop orientation – taken at a fast and lively clip! Lalo Schifrin arranged the whole session too – and titles include "One Bass Hit", "Blue N Boogie", "Emanon", "Groovin High", "Ow", "The Champ", "Tin Tin Deo", "Hot House", and "Con Alma". (Jazz, Vocalists) CD
(Out of print pressing.)

Partial matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Johnny HartmanI Just Dropped By To Say Hello (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Impulse (Japan), 1963. Used Gatefold ... $24.99
A beautiful album of dark-hued vocals – sung by Johnny Hartman with a quality that's as smokey as the image of him with a cigarette on the cover! The album set a whole new standard for male vocal jazz in the 60s – and is a distillation and refinement of earlier ideas in music by Billy Eckstine, taken down to more personal and fluid levels by Hartman – and recorded here with great small group baking that includes Illinois Jacquet on tenor, Kenny Burrell on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. The vibe is very mellow, but never sloppy or sleepy – and titles include "Charade", "In The Wee Small Hours", "Stairway To the Stars", "Kiss & Run", "Our Time", "Don't You Know I Care", "If I'm Lucky", and "Don't Call It Love". CD
(Out of print. Includes obi. Back cover has a small sample sticker.)

Partial matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Billie HolidayBillie Holiday – Remixed & Reimagined ... CD
Legacy, 2007. Used ... $5.99
Billie Holiday's probably reimagined here more than she's remixed – as most of the tracks are heavy on contemporary beats and breaks first, and tend to focus on the vocals second! Billie's older recordings are dropped into the mix to provide a bit of older flavor – sometimes used quite sparingly, sometimes a bit more in the spirit of the original songs – but still usually in a way that has the remixer emerg as the main star on each track. 14 tracks in all and titles include "All Of Me (Charles Feelgood & Gil rmx)", "Glad To Be Unhappy (DJ Logic rmx)", "Billie's Blues (Daniel Y rmx)", "You're So Desirable (Sunday People rmx)", "I Hear Music (Swingsett & Takuya's Mighty Fine rmx)", "Spreadin Rhythm Around (Lady Bug vs Lady Day RR rmx)", and "Travlin All Alone (Nickodemus & Zeb rmx)". CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Julie LondonJulie Is Her Name/Julie Is Her Name Vol 2 ... CD
Liberty/EMI, Late 50s. Used ... $4.99
A landmark album in 50s vocal jazz – spare, moody, and evocative tunes from Julie London – sung in a stripped-down setting that few other singers would dare at the time! The sound of the set is as sexy as the cover – intimate, personal, and breathily sung in a mode that comes across with a brashly adult presentation of the material. Backing only features Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass – leaving Julie plenty of room to take over the record with her vocals – a real masterpiece of understatement, given the setting! Titles include her famous version of "Cry Me A River" – virtually THE version of the tune – plus "I Should Care", "Say It Isn't So", "Gone With The Wind", "Laura", and "Can't Help Loving That Man". Volume 2 is a lesser-known follow-up to Julie London's classic Julie Is Her Name album. The approach here is similar to the first set – with Howard Roberts backing up Julie's vocals, in a style that's quite similar to that used by Barney Kessel the first time around. Red Mitchell's bass is really the only other instrumentation – and the spareness of the set is stunning – with a nakedness that gets past even Julie's heavy turtleneck on the cover! Titles include "If I'm Lucky", "Little White Lies", "Hot Toddy", "Blue Moon", "Goody Goody", and "Spring Is Here". CD

Partial matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Claudine LongetLove Is Blue ... CD
A&M (Japan), 1968. Used ... $16.99
Always-great work from lovely French singer Claudine Longet – a vocalist with a style that's unlike anyone else we can think of! This one's another sublime blend of French 60s pop and sunny A&M production – arranged to perfection by the great Nick DeCaro, with touches that deepen the album from earlier work – like chorus vocals, more ambitious instrumentation, and even some guest duet vocals from Tommy Lipuma! Claudine is incredible throughout – a masterpiece of gentle understatement – and she sparkles on tunes that include "Happy Talk", "Who Needs You", "Walk In The Park", "Snow", "When I Look In Your Eyes", "Dindi", and "Love is Blue". CD

Partial matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Helen MerrillNearness Of You/You've Got A Date With The Blues ... CD
Lonehill, 1957/1958/1959. Used ... $8.99
Icy brilliance from a young Helen Merrill – The Nearness Of You – a record that's easily the Mercury equivalent of June Christy's classic work on Capitol or Chris Connor's classics for Bethlehem! Helen's working here with small combo backings on all tracks – carved out with players who include Bobby Jaspar, Bill Evans, Oscar Pettiford, and George Russell – all swinging gently alongside the vocals, but also taking care to shade things in with some of the darker, bluer colors that always worked best for Merrill – and which made her voice echo with a depth that few other singers could match! Titles include "When The Sun Comes Out", "I Remember You", "Summertime", "Let Me Love You", and "All Of You". You've Got A Date With The Blues – maybe our favorite album ever from Merrill – certainly from the early days – and a unique outing cut for MGM's excellent Metrojazz label! The set's got a more laidback sound than Merrill's previous records – and a definite bluesy undercurrent too – one that comes through strongly in the piano and arrangements of Jimmy Jones, and in the tremendous tenor work from Frank Wess – whose playing on the record gives the set a soulful quality we're not used to hearing with Helen! Tunes all follow the theme of the title – but are done in really inventive ways, especially when Wess gets a chance to solo – and titles include "Blues In My Heart", "The Blues", "The Thrill Is Gone", "You've Got A Date With The Blues", "The Meaning Of The Blues", and "Vous M'Ebloussez". CD

Partial matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Ella Fitzgerald & Oscar PetersonElla & Oscar (with bonus tracks) (OJC Remasters) ... CD
Pablo/OJC, 1975. Used ... $5.99
Ella Fitzgerald, recorded in a nice lean setting – with mostly just the piano of Oscar Peterson to back her up, plus a bit of extra bass from Ray Brown on a few of the album's tracks! We love Fitzgerald in this mode – which is quite a change from some of her more familiar 70s work, and really shows the singer in her best light possible – handling things right out front, with an inherent sense of swing that's completely sublime! Peterson is great here too – playing with some of those more ragged edges that you'll get on his spare sessions for Pablo – some nice bluesy undercurrents that really help shape the sound of the record. Titles include "Mean To Me", "April In Paris", "Street Of Dreams", "I Hear Music", "More Than You Know", and "Midnight Sun". CD features 4 bonus alternate takes, too! CD
(Booklet has a name written in marker.)

Partial matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Carmen McRaeGreat American Songbook ... CD
Atlantic, 1971. Used ... $1.99
The title sounds a bit ambitious, but the album's actually a great intimate date from Carmen McRae – a beautifully-recorded small combo performance – caught live at Donte's in LA, with a sound that hearkens back to some of Carmen's best work of the 50s! The format is spare and simple – backing by a quartet that features Joe Pass on guitar, Jimmy Rowles on piano, Chuck Domanico on bass, and Chuck Flores on drums – all grooving with a light and lively touch behind Carmen's wonderful vocals – served up here with a lot more freedom than she was getting on most of her studio dates from the time. The "great American songbook" is really just a catch-all for a very wide variety of work included on the record – and the album's hardly the staid "songbook" sort of album you'd guess from the title. Instead, Carmen really opens herself up to a lot of great tunes, from classic to contemporary – with titles that include "Three Little Words", "The Ballad Of Thelonious Monk", "Behind The Face", "Sunday", "Day By Day", "If The Moon Turns Green", "At Long Last Love", and "A Song For You". CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Louis ArmstrongWhat A Wonderful World ... CD
Decca/MCA, 1968. Used ... $1.99
A surprising gem from Louis' later years – most famous for the title hit, but a great album all the way through! Louis is more of a singer than a musician on the set – and he's working with arrangements steeped in warmth and nostalgia – going for an instantly-ancient sound that brings out the best in Armstrong's sentimental tone. Next to the album's wonderful title track "What A Wonderful World", there's also lots of great obscure material – including "The Home Fire", "Hello Brother", "There Must Be A Way", "Fantastic That's You", and "The Sunshine Of Love". (Jazz, Vocalists) CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Noel CowardNoel Coward At Las Vegas ... CD
DRG/Columbia, 1955. Used ... $4.99
One of our favorite vocal albums of the 50s – an incredibly witty live set from Noel Coward, recorded in Las Vegas, with a very different style than some of his other records! The Noel Coward you'll hear here is still steeped in the mannered wit of his earlier plays, but he's also let himself go considerably – working in front of a live audience with an eager ear for well crafted lyrics and innuendo. The songs are mostly numbers from Coward's earlier shows, but they're sung in a hip swinging loungey style that really gives them legs – moving them past their staid roots into strong 50s vocal territory. Includes 2 great remakes of Cole Porter numbers – "Let's Do It" and "Begin The Beguine", both with Coward's own lyrics – plus "Uncle Harry", "A Bar On The Piccola Marina", "World Weary", and "Mad Dogs & Englishmen". CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Abbey LincolnAbbey Is Blue (Jazz Heritage pressing) ... CD
Riverside/OJC, 1959. Used ... $4.99
Key early work by Abbey – no so much the "blue" album you'd guess from the title, but a session that's filled with the kind of anger and emotion that makes us love her so much when she's this good! The group here is very hip – an ensemble brought to the date by her then-partner Max Roach – with Max on drums, Tommy Turrentine on trumpet, Stanley Turrentine on tenor, and Julian Preister on trombone – all working with Abbey in a mode that's quite similar to her best appearances on Roach records from the same stretch! Titles include her amazing early version of "Afro Blue", plus "Lonely House", "Come Sunday", "Let Up", and a great version of Oscar Brown, Jr's "Brother Where Are You?" CD

Partial matches21
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Claudine LongetClaudine ... CD
A&M (Japan), Late 60s. Used ... $16.99
French pop meets LA production – and the result is some of the best work ever recorded by A&M Records – a gently groovy, slightly sexy sound that really helped define the label in its early years! Claudine Longet's got a gentle Parisian style of singing that's perfect, simply perfect, on this first LP – set to lightly groovy arrangements by the great Nick DeCaro, gliding through a host of tunes that encompasses some of the grooviest hits of the decade – from soundtrack numbers to bossa tunes to familiar numbers that sparkle anew with Claudine's brilliance! Titles include "A Man and A Woman", "Wanderlove", "Meditation", "My Guy", "Sunrise Sunset", "A Felicidade", and "Hello Hello". CD
(Out of print.)
 
 
 



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