Albums

$20.99
$17.99

Vocal Jazz - Released April 1, 1957 | Verve

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Stereophile: Record To Die For
$20.99
$17.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Capitol Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard - Stereophile: Record To Die For
$20.99
$17.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Exceptional sound - Hi-Res Audio
Singer Cassandra Wilson, who has had a rather diverse career that has ranged from the free funk of M-Base to standards à la Betty Carter, has in recent times adopted a folk-oriented style a little reminiscent of Nina Simone. On New Moon Daughter her repertoire ranges from U2 to Son House, from Hoagy Carmichael to Hank Williams ("I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"); it is certainly the only album ever that contains both the Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville" and "Strange Fruit." This CD is a surprise best-seller, for Wilson's voice actually sounds quite bored and emotionally detached. She deserves great credit for stretching herself, but one has to dig deep to find any warmth in her overly cool approach. ~ Scott Yanow
$12.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$10.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$8.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$14.99
$12.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Philips

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Perhaps a bit more conscious of contemporary soul trends than her previous Philips albums, this is still very characteristic of her mid-'60s work in its eclectic mix of jazz, pop, soul, and some blues and gospel. Hal Mooney directs some large band arrangements for the material on this LP without submerging Simone's essential strengths. The more serious and introspective material is more memorable than the good-natured pop selections here. The highlights are her energetic vocal rendition of the Oscar Brown/Nat Adderley composition "Work Song" and her spiritual composition "Come Ye," on which Simone's inspirational vocals are backed by nothing other than minimal percussion. ~ Richie Unterberger
$12.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | Riverside

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
The ultra-hip and sophisticated "cool jazz" that Chet Baker (trumpet/vocals) helped define in the early '50s matured rapidly under the tutelage of producer Dick Bock. This can be traced to Baker's earliest sides on Bock's L.A.-based Pacific Jazz label. This album is the result of Baker's first sessions for the independent Riverside label. The Chet Baker Quartet featured on Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen to You includes Kenny Drew (piano), Sam Jones (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). (Performances by bassist George Morrow and drummer Dannie Richmond are featured on a few cuts.) This results in the successful combination of Baker's fluid and nonchalant West Coast delivery with the tight swinging accuracy of drummer Jones and pianist Drew. Nowhere is this balance better displayed than the opening and closing sides on the original album, "Do It the Hard Way" and "Old Devil Moon," respectively. One immediate distinction between these vocal sides and those recorded earlier in the decade for Pacific Jazz is the lissome quality of Baker's playing and, most notably, his increased capacity as a vocalist. The brilliant song selection certainly doesn't hurt either. This is an essential title in Chet Baker's 30-plus year canon. [Some reissues contain two bonus tracks, "I'm Old Fashioned" and "While My Lady Sleeps"]. ~ Lindsay Planer
$12.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Warner Jazz

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The recording history of Little Jimmy Scott is peppered with long hiatuses from the studio. He was absent for a period of seven years from 1962 to 1969 and then for more than 15 years from 1975 to 1990. Bordering on singing in the range of a counter tenor, Scott brings a distinctive, immediately recognizable sound and sensitivity to material he sings. It is hard to find any other vocalist, other than Billie Holiday, who matches Scott's depth of emotion that he applies to the classic standards he favors. All the Way was recorded more than 40 years after Scott made his first album for Roost. Over those years, even with his long absences, he has been able to command the services of top of the line musicians. He is one of those rare vocalists that jazz musicians like to be on the stage or in the studio with. And this album is no exception, featuring an all-star lineup that includes Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, and Grady Tate on rhythm. David "Fathead" Newman's soulful sax on such cuts as "All the Way" compliments Scott's delivery perfectly. Like Scott, Newman leaves abundant room between the measures to allow the song to breathe, the listeners to gain the full flavor of what he has played and to anticipate what's to follow in a second or two. On such tunes as "Angel Eyes" and "At Last," Scott's delivery goes beyond mere poignancy, and moves close to reverence, such respect he has for the classics he has put in the song list. This is good stuff. Strings magically appear on some tracks. But they are done tastefully and don't get in the way. Jimmy McDonough's knowledgeable highlights of Scott's career are a welcome added attraction. ~ Dave Nathan
$25.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$16.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
Jazz songwriter and pianist Patricia Barber's 2006 album Mythologies, a song cycle based on Ovid's Metamorphosis, is a sprawling work of poetic and musical adventure. Upon its release, it garnered universal acclaim from critics and responsive concert audiences across the United States and Europe. After this rigorous undertaking, Barber could have been forgiven for taking a breather. And on its surface, that seems to be what the Cole Porter Mix is. But in Barber's case, this is far from true. While she claims in her bio that she's been singing his songs for years, and that he's her favorite songwriter, she does anything but a "standard" read on his tunes, though she never undermines their integrity. The album is called a "mix" because Barber has woven three of her own tunes -- written after the manner of Porter's -- into the fabric of the album. Given her austere yet highly original readings of his songs, they fit in seamlessly. She is accompanied here by her longtime backing group of Neal Alger (guitar), Michael Arnopol (bass), and Eric Montzka (drums), with drummer Nate Smith alternating on three tunes, and guest saxophonist Chris Potter appearing on five. Commencing with the opening number "Easy to Love," with its skeletal bossa nova rhythm (Barber doesn't play in the body of the tune and only contributes a wonderfully economical piano solo), and the relative austerity of her voice, it's obvious this isn't an ordinary standards set. She is faithful to the intent of these songs both lyrically and musically, but she shifts their arrangements in such a way that they are more suited to her deliberately restrained singing voice, and her own vocation as a songwriter. It's the songwriter she is paying tribute to here -- not the tradition. "I Concentrate on You" also carries within it the kernel of bossa, but this time, with her piano fills and artfully incisive manner of accenting, to quote Porter, "how strange the change from major to minor" without invoking the blues (the standard for doing so). Barber's pianism is elegantly idiosyncratic, even enigmatic. Her "cool" singing voice peels away the weight these songs have borne over the years, and instead returns to them their subtlety and gentle sense of humorous irony. There are some wild moments here -- such as the Latin polyrhythms at the heart of "In the Still of the Night," that set up a space for some serious blowing tenor by Potter -- but the spirit of "song" is never compromised. Barber's originals are truly canny, empathic evidence of her true understanding of Porter. "Snow," with its minor-key piano intro opens with: "Do you think of me like snow/cool, slippery and white? Do you think of me like jazz/as hip, as black as night?" The mysterious, dull ache of love and lust in "New Year's Eve Song" evokes the forlorn aspect of Porter but the strange, covert voyeurism of poet Robert Lowell's "Eep Hour": "Will he/peek in the mirror while she/knowing he's watching her tease/stripping the gown with ease/bare as the New Year, she/so in love with her is he..." All the while, the sense of a taut harmonic melody is inseparable from the lyrics, unveiling the secret intent in the song for both listener and singer. The Cole Porter Mix is a very modern form of imitation, as evidenced not only by interpretation but in her evocative compositions too; they mark the greatest form of flattery. But it is also an ingenious manner of reconsidering Porter -- and Barber -- with fresh ears. ~ Thom Jurek
$12.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Prestige

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
Mose Allison's very first recording finds the 29-year-old pianist taking just two vocals (on his "Young Man Blues" and "One Room Country Shack"), but those are actually the most memorable selections. The centerpiece of this trio outing with bassist Taylor LaFargue and drummer Frank Isola (which has been reissued on CD) is Allison's ten-part "Back Country Suite," a series of short concise folk melodies that puts the focus on his somewhat unique piano style which, although boppish, also looked back at the country blues tradition. Very interesting music. ~ Scott Yanow
$12.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 17, 2006 | RCA - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Nina Simone Sings the Blues, issued in 1967, was her RCA label debut, and was a brave departure from the material she had been recording for Phillips. Indeed, her final album for that label, High Priestess of Soul, featured the singer, pianist, and songwriter fronting a virtual orchestra. Here, Simone is backed by a pair of guitarists (Eric Gale and Rudy Stevenson), bassist (Bob Bushnell), drummer (Bernard "Pretty" Purdie), organist (Ernie Hayes), and harmonica player who doubled on saxophone (Buddy Lucas). Simone handled the piano chores. The song selection is key here. Because for all intents and purposes this is perhaps the rawest record Simone ever cut. It opens with the sultry, nocturnal, slow-burning original "Do I Move You," which doesn't beg the question but demands an answer: "Do I move you?/Are you willin'?/Do I groove you?/Is it thrillin'?/Do I soothe you?/Tell the truth now?/Do I move you?/Are you loose now?/The answer better be yeah...It pleases me...." As the guitarists slip and slide around her husky vocal, a harmonica wails in the space between, and Simone's piano is the authority, hard and purposely slow. The other tune in that vein, "In the Dark," is equally tense and unnerving; the band sounds as if it's literally sitting around as she plays and sings. There are a number of Simone signature tunes on this set, including "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl," "Backlash Blues," and her singular, hallmark, definitive reading of "My Man's Gone Now" from Porgy and Bess. Other notable tracks are the raucous, sexual roadhouse blues of "Buck," written by Simone's then husband Andy Stroud, and the woolly gospel blues of "Real Real," with the Hammond B-3 soaring around her vocal. The cover of Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell for You" literally drips with ache and want. Simone also reprised her earlier performance of "House of the Rising Sun" (released on a 1962 Colpix live platter called At the Village Gate). It has more authority in this setting as a barrelhouse blues; it's fast, loud, proud, and wailing with harmonica and B-3 leading the charge. The original set closes with the slow yet sassy "Blues for Mama," ending with the same sexy strut the album began with, giving it the feel of a Möbius strip. Nina Simone Sings the Blues is a hallmark recording that endures; it deserves to be called a classic. ~ Thom Jurek
$12.99

Vocal Jazz - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$22.99

Vocal Jazz - Released April 19, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Most of this highly recommended set is taken from a series of 1957 sessions in which singer Chris Connor exclusively interprets songs of George Gershwin. To fill out the CDs, additional Gershwin cuts from other, otherwise unrelated dates by the vocalist have been added. Connor's cool delivery gives many of the largely familiar songs new life. She is assisted by such fine musicians as trumpeter Joe Newman, tenorman Al Cohn, flutist Herbie Mann, vibraphonist Milt Jackson and pianist Ralph Sharon, who add tasteful and concise solos. Many of the selections were quite rare before this well-conceived and appealing reissue was put together. ~ Scott Yanow
$10.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Decca

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Peggy Lee left Capitol in 1952 for, among several other reasons, the label's refusal to let her record and release an exotic, tumultuous version of "Lover." Lee was certainly no Mitch Miller songbird, content to loosen her gorgeous pipes on any piece of tripe foisted upon her; she was a superb songwriter with a knowledge of production and arrangement gained from work in big bands and from her husband, Dave Barbour (although the two weren't together at the time). The more open-minded Decca acquiesced to her demand, and watched its investment pay off quickly when the single became her biggest hit in years. Black Coffee was Lee's next major project. Encouraged by longtime Decca A&R Milt Gabler, she hired a small group including trumpeter Pete Candoli and pianist Jimmy Rowles (two of her favorite sidemen) to record an after-hours jazz project similar in intent and execution to Lee Wiley's "Manhattan project" of 1950, Night in Manhattan. While the title-track opener of Black Coffee soon separated itself from the LP -- to be taught forever after during the first period of any Torch Song 101 class -- the album doesn't keep to its concept very long; Lee is soon enough in a bouncy mood for "I've Got You Under My Skin" and very affectionate on "Easy Living." (If there's a concept at work here, it's the vagaries of love.) Listeners should look instead to "It Ain't Necessarily So" or "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You?" for more examples of Lee's quintessentially slow-burn sultriness. Aside from occasionally straying off-concept, however, Black Coffee is an excellent record, spotlighting Lee's ability to shine with every type of group and in any context. [When originally recorded and released in 1953, Black Coffee was an eight-song catalog of 78s. Three years later, Decca commissioned an LP expansion of the record, for which Lee recorded several more songs. The 2004 Verve edition is therefore a reissue of the 1956 12-song LP.] ~ John Bush
$14.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Decca

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
$7.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Throughout the '90s the smoky-voiced contralto Cassandra Wilson has shunned piano accompaniment in favor of close-miked acoustic guitars, evoking a moodily sensual atmosphere in which pop, blues, country and straight jazz vocals all merge together. It helps that Wilson has a distinctly Southern blues cast to her singing, a quality immediately apparent on "Run The Voodoo Down," the funky opener to TRAVELING MILES, her impeccably self-produced homage to Miles Davis. As is her wont, Wilson has chosen to mix it up on this tribute, setting lyrics to Davis compositions such as "Blue In Green," "Tutu" and "ESP" while reprising two favorite Miles covers, "Someday My Prince Will Come" and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." The singer also contributes some of her own welcome originals such as the poppish "Right Here, Right Now," which itself sounds like a tribute to Joni Mitchell, another mentor-spirit hovering over the proceedings. The set closes with a playful reprise of "Voodoo," featuring a sisterly duet with African singer Angelique Kidjo, who sounds right at home.
$10.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$10.49

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

Genre

Vocal Jazz in the magazine