Vocalists — All Formats

Singers we love -- from vintage torch to vocalese to some key talents of the contemporary scene!


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Exact matches: 1
Exact matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Pearl BaileyOne & Only Pearl Bailey – For Adult Listening (Wing pressing) ... LP
Mercury/Wing, 1957. Near Mint- ... $2.99
LP, Vinyl record album
(Blue label pressing, with deep groove.)
Close matches: 1
Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Thelma GracenThelma Gracen ... LP
EmArcy/Wing, 1955. Very Good- ... $34.99
A beautiful little record from obscure 50s vocalist Thelma Gracen – a singer from Chicago who once worked territory not too far from Dusty Groove! Thelma may not be the biggest name of her decade, but she's got a sound that's very worthy of this Emarcy debut – a gently sophisticated approach to jazz vocals that's often quite relaxed, but not in a sleepy or careless way. Backings here are small combo throughout – in a mode that's a bit like some of Helen Merrill's classics for the label at the time, but a bit warmer overall. Players include Georgie Auld on tenor, Lou Levy on piano, and Barney Kessel on guitar – and titles include "Solitude", "I'll Remember April", "Night & Day", "Out Of Nowhere", "Let There Be Love", and "I'm Yours". LP, Vinyl record album
(Deep groove Wing pressing! Cover has a split top seam and oxidation under the laminate, which has caused white pixilation on the image.)
Partial matches: 21
Partial matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Allan Davies SingersCome Ray N Come Charles ... LP
Reprise, Early 60s. Very Good+ ... $3.99
A sweet American vocal group session – one that offers up swinging versions of Ray Charles tunes, in a mode similar to the Ray Charles-inspired album by Les Double Six! LP, Vinyl record album
(White label promo. Cover has a promo sticker on front, a small bit of tape on spine, and WGN letters on back.)

Partial matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Marjorie BarnesTenderly – Marjorie Barnes Meets Sarah Vaughan ... CD
Zennez (Netherlands), 2015. New Copy ... $18.99
A tribute to the legendary Sarah Vaughan – a singer that Marjorie Barnes certainly matches with her wonderful range and sublime sense of phrasing – but a set that also gets some nice soulful undercurrents, too – and a presentation level that reminds us a bit of Ernestine Anderson's best work at times! The group here is a small Dutch combo – with Rob Van Bavel on piano – and they do a great job of keeping in the pocket, and laying down a great rhythmic groove on the swingers – then stepping back a fair bit on the gentler moments, so that Marjorie opens up in even more Vaughan-like lines. Titles include "So Many Stars", "Speak Low", "The Lamp Is Low", "East Of The Sun", "In A Mellow Tone", "Easy Living", and "Passing Strangers". CD

Partial matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Blue Stars Of FranceLullaby Of Birdland ... CD
Mercury (Japan), 1954. New Copy ... $13.99
A key link in the early career of Blossom Dearie – and a fab album of jazzy vocal tracks throughout! Before Blossom recorded some of her 50s sides for Verve in the US, she was living in France and working with The Blue Stars – a cool male/female jazz vocal group that went onto become the prototype for later acts like The Swingle Singers, Lambert Hendricks & Ross, and Les Double Six! This 1954 album by the group was actually a minor hit in the US, where their swinging harmony version of "Lullaby Of Birdland" crept up the charts for a few weeks. The album's even cooler than the hit, though, and has lots of groovy jazz vocal tracks in French, with the sort of vocalese harmony scatting that you probably already know from the more famous groups mentioned above. You can always pick out Blossom's distinctive voice in the group, but the real strength is the groovy group vocals – shining beautifully in one of the first great recordings of vocalese harmony! Tracks include "Gina", "Embrasse Moi Bien", "La Danse Du Baiser", "Toute Ma Joie", and a version of "Mister Sandman" that's been renamed "Mister L'Amour". CD

Partial matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Blue Stars/Henri SalvadorJazz In Paris – Pardon My English/Henri Salvador Plays The Blues ... CD
Universal (France), 1956. Used ... $8.99
Excellent vocal jazz from postwar Paris! The Blue Stars were a legendary combo that were led by Blossom Dearie, and which featured a host of great vocal talents that would later go onto form groups like Les Double Six or The Swingle Singers, including Mimi Perrin and Christine Legrand, as well as instrumental jazz artists like Fats Sadi and Roger Guerin, who are doing some rare vocalization here. The first 4 tracks on the set are pulled from a 1956 ep – and it features the group on the tracks "Jumpin At The Woodside", "C'est La Vie", "Broadway At Basin Street", and "Grapevine". The next 12 tracks are from the Pardon My English LP – which has the group down to a sextet, working without Dearie, in a groovy accented English vocal style that's a direct precursor of the vocalese grooving of Les Double Six. Titles on that set include "Small Talk", "Move", "Did You Close Your Eyes?", and "Promises & Lies". The last 3 tracks on the set are a bit different – featuring vocals and guitar by Henri Salvador, with backing on bass and drums. The style of Salvador's work is still similar, though – way more vocalese than the "blues" in the title would make you expect – and the tracks are lifted from a rare Fontana ep-only release that was recorded in the same year. Titles include "Don't Blame Me", "Salvador Plays The Blues", and "Stompin At The Savoy". CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Inge BrandenbergEasy Street ... CD
Bear Family (Germany), Late 50s/Early 60s. New Copy ... $19.99 27.99
Really lovely vocal work from Inge Brandenburg – a German singer in the postwar years, but one who has an amazing ability to match the best of the American vocalists of the time! Inge's got a nicely icy style at times – a bit like Chris Connor or June Christy – but also warms up a bit at others, with an individual sense of swing that's mighty nice – and which gets superb backing here from top-shelf German jazzmen who include Emil Mangelsdorff on alto, Joki Freund on tenor, Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone, and Gunter Lenz on bass – and even a bit of trumpet from Dusko Goykovich too! The presentation of the material is wonderful – very much in the mode of some of the best female jazz sessions on 50s US labels like Emarcy, Mode, or Bethlehem – with a similar sort of space for the instrumentalists to shine too – and the CD features a total of 20 tracks that include "Yardbird Suite", "Easy Living", "Angel Eyes", "That Old Black Magic", "Moonglow", "I've Got To Pass Your House", "When Sunny Gets Blue", and "You Gotta Wail". CD

Partial matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Teresa Brewer with Count Basie & Duke EllingtonSongs Of Bessie Smith/It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing ... CD
Flying Dutchman/Boplicity (UK), 1973. New Copy ... $8.99
A pair of later jazzy vocal LP gems by Teresa Brewer, both backed by jazz greats – Songs Of Bessie Smith with Count Basie and Thad Jones, and It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing with Duke Ellington – both released by Flying Dutchman in 1973! Teresa's popularity peaked a couple decades earlier as a girlish pop singer, and she succeeds strongly on both records – not just because of the jazz heavies in the band, but because she has the pipes and genuine affection for the material to pull it off. It's lovely stuff! Songs Of Bessie Smith have the bluesy overtones necessary to make it work, without trying the hide Teresa's naturally softer approach. Basie on piano throughout, with arrangements by Jones, and a great big band on half and more intimate arrangements on the other half. It Don't Mean A Thing. . .works just as wel, with Duke Ellington and Ernie Wilkins arrangements, and great Flying Dutchman players that include Bernard Purdie, Joe Beck and Mtume. 20 tracks in all, including "Trombone Cholly", "Gmme A Pigfoot", "I Ain't Got Nobody", "St Louis Blues", "I Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues", "Mood Indigo", "I'm Beginning To See The Light", "I've Got To Be A Rug Cutter", "Tulip Or Turnip", "I'ts Kinda Lonesome Out Tonight" and more. CD

Partial matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Dee Dee BridgewaterThis Is New ... CD
Verve/Universal, 2002. Used ... $3.99
Dee Dee Bridgewater returns in wonderful form – singing a set of Kurt Weill compositions, working with small combo backings to infuse the tunes with a heck of a lot more soul than usual! Dee Dee's always been one of our favorite jazz singers, and we've got new appreciation for her talents in the way that she transforms older classics like "My Ship", "Bilbao Song", "This Is New", "Lost In The Stars", "Speak Low", and "Saga Of Jenny". Her approach to the material loses all the stark, rough edges of the songs' original readings – and makes them swing with new life in the presence of Dee Dee's warmth! CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Rosemary ClooneyCBS Radio Recordings 1955 to 1961 (5CD set) ... CD
Mosaic, Late 50s. New Copy 5CD ... $84.99 85.00
A really wonderful setting for the great Rosemary Clooney – an excellent singer at all times, but maybe heard here in some of her best recordings ever! The tracks all appear here for the first time on record – pulled from the vaults of CBS, where Clooney recorded the material over the course of a few years with small combo backings from keyboardist Buddy Cole – in a style that was similar to some of the best Bing Crosby radio work of the time! Rosemary really sparkles in the setting – free from some of the hoke or gimmicks of some of her other 50s records – and able to both show off her jazz pipes in a swinging style, and hit these beautifully personal moments on the ballads. Cole himself plays piano, organ, harpsichord, and celeste – and the group features just guitar from Vince Terri, bass from Don Whitaker, and drums from Nick Fatool – quite a change from the bigger backings on Rosemary's other albums. The work is a real revelation – an exposure of this side of Clooney's talent to all of us who weren't fortunate to catch it the first time around – and the whole thing is put together in the best Mosaic style – with a whopping 104 tracks on 5CDs – all with excellent sound, and a full booklet of notes and photos! CD
(LImited to 5000 copies.)

Partial matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Rosemary ClooneySwing Around Rosie (LP sleeve edition) ... CD
Coral/Verve, 1959. Used ... $5.99
Rosie's always been a heck of a jazz singer, but she doesn't always get to show her chops on record – which is why this late 50s session is such a treat! Backings are by the Buddy Cole trio (with Buddy on both piano and organ!) – a now-forgotten group that were frequently called upon in the 50s to do mellower small group backing for famous singers. The setting is a nice easy one, and Rosie responds wonderfully with some incredibly well-ranged vocals – on numbers that include "Goody Goody", "You Took Advantage Of Me", "A Touch Of The Blues", "Blue Moon", "Too Close For Comfort", and "I Wish I Were In Love Again". CD
(Out of print. Comes in a nice 5" paper sleeve – shaped just like a tiny record cover – very cool! Includes US obi!)

Partial matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Nat King Cole & Quincy JonesSwiss Radio Days Vol 33 – Nat King Cole & Quincy Jones ... CD
TCB (Switzerland), 1960. New Copy ... $14.99 15.99
A beautiful set by Nat King Cole joined by conductor/bandleader Quincy Jones and his Big Band – performing live in Zurich on May 1, 1960 – and what an impeccable performance it is! Quincy was touring with a pretty amazing line-up in his Big Band at this point – with Benny Bailey, Jimmy Cleveland, Melba Liston, Phil Woods, Sahib Shihab, Joe Harris and more – and they kick off the set with a couple gentler numbers before swinging more heavily on a couple, then introduce Nat – who's voice is in perfect form here. He sings his hits with the big band, some additional strings and a pared down trio format for a few – so we really get a broad representation of what these consummate performers can do in a number of settings, all in one concert, to boot. Wonderful stuff – released for the first time ever! Titles include "Moanin'", The Midnight Sun Will Never Set", "Airmail Special", "Unforgettable", "Sweet Lorraine", "Tea For Two", "Madrid", "The Phantom Blues", "Route 66", "Joe Turner's Blues", "The Midnight Sun Will Never Set" and more. Also includes a 5 minute interview with Nat. CD

Partial matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Chris Connor & Maynard FergusonDouble Exposure ... LP
Atlantic, 1960. Very Good- ... $4.99
One of Chris Connor's standout albums for Atlantic Records – and a session that actually makes us really appreciate the presence of Maynard Ferguson! The album's got a bit more punch than some of Chris' other records for the label, and is a nice shift in mood after a series of sad, dreamy, sometimes sleepy albums of ballads and sadder songs. Chris still manages to get in some rich emotion on the set, but the overall sound is a bit more swinging and upbeat – with a good set of tunes that includes "Summertime", "I Only Have Eyes For You", "That's How It Went All Right", "It Never Entered My Mind", and "Black Coffee". LP, Vinyl record album
(UK pressing on London. Cover has yellowed tape on the seams.)

Partial matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bing Crosby & Buddy BregmanBing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings ... CD
Verve, 1963. Used ... $5.99
Excellent later vocals from Bing Crosby – a set that features some great jazzy backings from Buddy Bregman, who really updates the Crosby sound! CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Sammy Davis JrSammy Davis Jr At The Cocoanut Grove ... CD
Reprise/Rhino, 1963. Used ... $8.99
Insanely wonderful stuff! Live, Sammy D was the most entertaining of all the rat pack – as you'll hear on this excellent concert from 1963 – one of the few recordings that really captures Sammy's genius in all aspects of his talents! The album's got some great straight jazz vocal numbers, a bit of showy hip talk, a tiny bit of Sammy's impersonations of other stars (a lost talent that's rarely survived on other reissues), and a few surprise numbers that are really great. The album's worth it alone for Sammy's fantastic West Side Story medley – done in a swinging jazzy way, with only bongos for accompaniment! Other highlights include "Frank Talk", "What Kind Of Fool Am I", "Once In A Lifetime", "Sammy Looks At Old Movies", "Me & My Shadow", and "Jam Session". CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Billy EckstineMister B & The Band ... CD
Savoy/Nippon (Japan), 1945/1946. Used ... $4.99
Amazing work from the early, legendary years of Billy Eckstine – that time when he was fronting one of the hippest backing groups a vocalist could hope to have! Eckstine's voice was already becoming the stuff of legend by the time of these recordings – but thanks to contributions from a host of famous boppers, his band was getting equal fame, too – a really legendary lineup that includes such greats as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie,Kenny Dorham, and Fats Navarro on trumpets; Wardell Gray, Dexter Gordon, and Gene Ammons on tenor; Leo Parker on baritone; Art Blakey on drums; and many other huge names too! The band was virtually a school for a whole generation of jazzmen to come – allowing them to play together, get to know each other, and spin off in important small groups – much in the way the Kenton group a few years later allowed so much development on the west coast. And amidst all this great music, Billy's vocals have never sounded better – much bolder and hard-swinging than in later years! CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ella FitzgeraldElla Sings Broadway (Verve Master Edition) ... CD
Verve/Jazz Heritage, 1962. Used ... $6.99
Ella Fitzgerald sings Broadway – but in a way that makes the tunes completely her own! Marty Paich turns in some great jazzy arrangements for the set – and the tunes are far more swinging than the usual showtunes you might expect – stripped of all their stage-bound drama, and retooled by Paich as these tight little vehicles for Ella's amazing vocals! The album's arguably more expressive than even some of Fitzgerald's previous songbook sessions – even though most work comes from the same American stage mode – titles that include "Hernando's Hideaway", "I Could Have Danced All Night", "Whatever Lola Wants", "Guys and Dolls", "If I Were A Bell", "No Other Love", and "Steam Heat". CD
(Out of print.)

Partial matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ella FitzgeraldNewport Jazz Festival – Live At Carnegie Hall (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia (Japan), 1973. New Copy 2CD ... $18.99
A great set from Ella Fitzgerald – recorded at Carnegie Hall during a stretch when Fitzgerald was hitting new worldwide fame, and singing a lot of groovy contemporary tunes – but done here in a very old school style that hearkens back to Ella's earliest days in the jazz world! The orchestra here is that of Chick Webb, directed by Eddie Barefield – who brings a vintage swing to the music that's mighty nice, and free from some of the more modern modes of some of Fitzgerald's studio work of the time. The live setting allows for Ella to open up nicely on some tunes – especially some of the medley numbers, which may well be some of the most entertaining on the record. Ella sings with some backing from Ellis Larkins on piano on a few numbers – and a few other tracks are instrumental, with work by Tommy Flanagan on piano, Eddie Lockjaw Davis on tenor, and Al Grey on trombone. Titles include "Stardust", "Some Of These Days", "I've Gotta Be Me", "C Jam Blues", "Smooth Sailing", "Indian Summer", and "Lemon Drop". 2CD set features lots of bonus tracks that weren't on the original album – a total of 33 titles in all! CD

Partial matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Ella FitzgeraldRhythm Is My Business ... LP
Verve, Early 60s. Near Mint- ... $9.99
They're not lying with the title on this one, as Ella's singing to backings from the great Bill Doggett – who cooks up some of the liveliest rhythms Ella ever received from Verve! The style is still similar to other Verve records of the time – with that magnificent Fitzgerald vocal style transforming familiar tunes and standards – but the groove is much more upbeat, and Ella swings it hard in a style that really takes us back to her earlier years. Titles include "Runnin Wild", "No Moon At All", "Laughin On The Outside", "I Can't Face The Music", and "Rough Ridin". LP, Vinyl record album
(MGM pressing. Cover has a cutout hole.)

Partial matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Roberta Gambarini with The Heath BrothersConnecting Spirits – Roberta Gambarini Sings The Jimmy Heath Songbook ... CD
55 Records/Groovin High (Japan), 2015. New Copy ... $26.99
Jimmy Heath is a hell of a saxophonist – one with a huge legacy of recordings from the early 60s onwards – and he's also a hell of a writer, too – an aspect of his career that's not always fully given its due! This set more than corrects that lack – and serves up a sublime mix of original Jimmy Heath compositions sung by vocalist Roberta Gambarini – who contributes lyrics to a few previously-instrumental tunes, and works with some of Jimmy's own lyrics on a few others! As you'd guess from the cover image, the set's done in close collaboration with Heath – and features Jimmy himself on both tenor and soprano sax, brother Albert Tootie Heath on drums, and instrumentation from the core Heath Brothers band plus some great additional guests. The spirit of the record is wonderful – warmly soulful, with this really fresh vibe that's so different than so many other vocal jazz albums – partly because of the compositions, and partly because of Roberta's very sensitive vocals. Titles include "Growing", "Voice Of The Saxophone", "Life In The City", "The Thumper", "Rio Dawn", "Harmonic Future", "Sassy Samba", "Mothers' Love", "Frank Foster", and "Ellington's Stray Horn". CD

Partial matches21
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Giacomo GatesEverything Is Cool ... CD
Savant, 2015. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
Things are plenty cool when Giacomo Gates is around – as the singer's a real old school vocalist, with a hip sound that takes us back to the best modes of the postwar years! Gates has never fully gotten his due, but he's a contemporary singer that we'd place in a legacy that includes Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, and Jon Hendricks – and, like all of those, is a vocalist who brings a hell of a lot of personality to his presentation of the material – rightly knowing that a jazz singer doesn't just swing, but finds a way to use his voice with the presence of an instrumental giant on the trumpet or tenor! Speaking of tenor, Grant Stewart blows in the small combo that backs up Giacomo – which also includes John DiMartino on piano and Tony Lombardozzi on guitar. Titles include "Everything Is Cool", "When Lovers They Lose", "Social Call", "Hazel's Hips", "Take Five", "Almost Blue", "Please Don't Bug Me", and "Who Threw The Glue". CD

Partial matches22
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Eydie GormeLove Is A Season (Japanese pressing) ... CD
MCA/Universal (Japan), 1958. Used ... $14.99
A season-themed album from Eydie Gorme – a great date from the early years, and one that has her working with jazzy backings from the great Don Costa! Don's got a great ear for both sides of Eydie's talents – the upbeat, swinging style that always sounds cheery – and the straighter, more serious way with a ballad that doesn't always get its due! The tunes all have season-based themes – a format used by other singers over the years, certainly, but a really great foil here for Gorme's many-varied talents – as the shifting months of the year give her good reason to change her tune from track to track. Titles include "Love Is A Season", "Winter Night", "June In January", "On The First Warm Day", "I'll Remember April", "Easter Parade", and "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year". CD

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