Albums

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1957 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£12.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
£13.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | GRP

This CD features a logical combination: singer Diane Schuur with the Count Basie big band. In what would be longtime rhythm guitarist Freddie Green's final performance, Schuur and the Basie ghost band (under the direction of Frank Foster) perform material that includes her standards (such as "Deedles' Blues" and "Climbing Higher Mountains"), Dave Brubeck's "Travlin' Blues" and the Joe Williams-associated "Everyday I Have The Blues." Unfortunately, the Basie band is mostly used in accompaniment without any significant solos, but Schuur sounds quite comfortable in this format and her voice is in prime form. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
To much of the pop (as opposed to the jazz) audience, Chet Baker was known not as an able cool jazz trumpeter, but as a romantic balladeer. The two classifications were not mutually exclusive; Baker's vocal numbers would also feature his trumpet playing, as well as fine instrumental support from West Coast cool jazzers. For those who prefer the vocal side of the Baker canon, this is an excellent compilation of his best vintage material in that mode. The 20 tracks draw from sessions covering the era when he was generally conceded to be at his vocal peak (1953-1956), and are dominated by standards from the likes of Rodgers & Hart, Carmichael, Gershwin, and Kern. Baker's singing was white and naïve in the best senses, with a quavering, uncertain earnestness that embodied a certain (safe) strain of mid-'50s bohemianism. That's the Baker heard on this collection, which contains some his most famous interpretations, including "My Funny Valentine," "Time After Time," "There Will Never Be Another You," and "Let's Get Lost." ~ Richie Unterberger
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Verve

Though she eventually came to be known as a "singer's singer," Helen Merrill's 1954 debut is an unmitigated success of mainstream jazz. Besides introducing the uniquely talented young singer, the date also featured small-group arrangements by Quincy Jones and marks the introduction of another future star, trumpeter Clifford Brown. Formidable as his playing is, Brown never overshadows Merrill. She is fully up to the challenge on all fronts and enthusiastically tackles uptempo numbers such as "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" and "Falling in Love with Love" with aplomb. A winning stylistic combination of cool jazz and hard bop, Merrill particularly excels on Mel Tormé's "Born to Be Blue," making the sophisticated tune her own as she revels in Tormé's down-and-out lyric. ~ Richard Mortifoglio
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Vocal Jazz - Released October 24, 1990 | RCA Victor

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Vocal Jazz - Released March 18, 1991 | RCA Bluebird

The follow-up to the essential Carmen Sings Monk is a tribute to the recently deceased Sarah Vaughan that ranks at the same very high level. Carmen McRae's final recording finds the singer backed by the Shirley Horn Trio (unfortunately, Horn turned down McRae's request to sing a bit) on 13 numbers associated with Sassy, plus Carroll Coates' original "Sarah." On such songs as "Poor Butterfly," "Misty," "Tenderly," "I'll Be Seeing You" and even "Send in the Clowns," McRae brings back the spirit (and some of the phrasing) of Sarah Vaughan while still sounding very much like herself. This very well-conceived tribute is a classic of its kind and a perfect swan song for Carmen McRae. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Verve

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
For an overview of Nat "King" Cole's years as a remarkably popular singer, this four-CD box would be difficult to top. Containing 100 songs spanning a 20-year period, this box has virtually all of Cole's hits, some of his best jazz sides, and more than its share of variety, including a humorous previously unreleased version of "Mr. Cole Won't Rock & Roll." Recommended to beginners and veteran collectors alike, its attractive booklet is also a major asset. ~ Scott Yanow
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Vocalist Blossom Dearie's Summetime is a low-key collection of chamber-jazz arranged for a small trio. Working with guitarist Mundell Lowe, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Ed Thigpen, Dearie sings the material with a gentle conviction; she may never sound passionate, but she never sounds like she doesn't care. The result is a pleasant record, that might never be a compelling listen, but it's never a bad one. ~ Thom Owens
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Emarcy

Swingin' Easy is one of Sarah Vaughan's lesser known albums for Emarcy, combining two separate trio sessions from 1954 and 1957. The earlier date includes pianist John Malachi (who also worked with singers like Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine, and Al Hibbler, plus bassist Joe Benjamin and drummer Roy Haynes. Vaughan's lush ballad technique is in full force in "Lover Man," "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," and "Body and Soul," while she scats in a midtempo setting of "If I Knew Then (What I Knew Now)" and her own "Shulie a Bop." The second trio include pianist Jimmy Jones, bassist Richard Davis, and Haynes. Aside from a brisk, miniature treatment of "Linger Awhile" and a playful setting of "I Cried for You," the session is highlighted by a breezy "All of Me." Vaughan is in terrific form throughout both dates, with the songs mostly running around the three-minute mark. ~ Ken Dryden
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | Clef Records

The first of seven volumes to present all of Billie Holiday's Verve recordings, JAZZ AT THE PHILHARMONIC gathers live performances from 1945 to 1947, as well as her 1957 Newport Jazz Festival set and the two songs she sang at the Seven Ages of Jazz Festival in 1958. Throughout, Holiday's voice transcends fluctuations in sound quality to swirl straight into the listener's blood. Lady Day exhibits total control of her achingly expressive, emotionally charged voice and sweeps it through the phrasings of "Fine and Mellow," "The Man I Love," and "Trav'lin' Light" with the fluid ease and interpretive brilliance of a seasoned instrumentalist. There is a noticible difference in vocal timbre in the Newport recordings-- thicker, darker and more bluesy. While not as techinically proficient as her earlier work, there is an appeal to this style as well-- since the sweet, sexy embellishments in "Nice Work If You Can Get It" and the sustained notes in "My Man" suggest new approaches to time and phrasing. JAZZ AT THE PHILHARMONIC is a memorable collection and, at moments, manages to capture Holiday at her finest.
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | Verve

"...If Benton wasn't quite Washington's equal--her extraordinary voice elevated even slight material--his resonant tones complemented her well..." - Rating: B+
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 30, 1996 | Legacy - Columbia

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Vocal Jazz - Released September 24, 1996 | Columbia - Legacy

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Vocal Jazz - Released April 28, 1997 | Columbia - Legacy

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Vocal Jazz - Released May 2, 1997 | Columbia - Legacy

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Vocal Jazz - Released December 1, 1997 | Columbia

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Pacific Jazz

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard

Genre

Vocal Jazz in the magazine