Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?

Originally By 29k votes 7.1k voters 794k views 161 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Only Jazz singers. No other genres

The best female jazz singers in music history have a sound that's like no other. Their melodies and tones captivate us and keep us coming back for more. Many of the women on this list have been gone for decades, but their incomparable jazz vocals will live on forever. Vote for your favorite famous female jazz vocalists and vote down any artists you don't like. Also, if you have a favorite who isn't listed here, add her! You can also rerank this list of top female jazz vocalists any way you like, including all of them or just a few. Enjoy!

How can any list of top female jazz vocalists not include the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan? Their unparalleled talents are indisputable. Once you get into the best female jazz singers' top 10, it's really hard to pick one over the other.

Arguments can be made, of course, that Sarah Vaughan's versatility makes her the best. Some might say that no one can or will ever match Ella Fitzgerald's incredible tone (and certainly her scat abilities). Others would argue that Billie Holiday is not only the greatest female jazz singer in history, but one of the best female vocalists ever.

Some of the best modern female jazz singers include the always wonderful Diana Krall, Melody Gardot, and certainly Esperanza Spalding and yes, even Norah Jones. Norah's sound is more of a jazzy fusion, but she makes the list. Defining a pure jazz singer isn't always easy: Like Norah, some of the women listed here are both jazz and blues. Either way, they're all fabulous, so vote!
Collection Photo:  via wikimedia
  • 28 ReRanks
    • Women
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  1. 1
    + 1,975
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    the people's #1 & most listed
    Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music See The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums

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  2. 2
    + 1,293
    - 148


    Cool jazz, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz See The Best Sarah Vaughan albums

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  3. 3
    + 1,709
    - 182


    Torch song, Ballad, Swing music See The Best Billie Holiday albums

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  4. 4
    + 1,237
    - 157


    Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz See The Best Nina Simone albums

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  5. 5
    + 776
    - 87


    Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues See The Best Dinah Washington albums

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  6. 6
    + 644
    - 187


    Traditional pop music, Jazz See The Best Peggy Lee albums

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  7. 7
    + 495
    - 94


    Ballad, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz See The Best Carmen McRae albums

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  8. 8
    + 479
    - 125

    added by motosaki
    Vocal jazz, Bebop See The Best Anita O'Day albums

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  9. 9
    + 564
    - 104

    ranked low on reranks
    Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz See The Best Nancy Wilson albums

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  10. 10
    + 940
    - 409

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Vocal jazz, Jazz blues, Jazz fusion See The Best Norah Jones albums

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  11. 11
    + 1,048
    - 267

    ranked low on reranks
    Traditional pop music, Jazz, Bossa nova See The Best Diana Krall albums

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  12. 12
    + 346
    - 80

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jazz, Blues See The Best Shirley Horn albums

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  13. 13
    + 970
    - 447

    often listed & added by TommyWimmer
    Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul See The Best Amy Winehouse songs

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  14. 14
    + 390
    - 64

    ranked low on reranks & added by jstyles1948
    Jazz, Blues See The Best Bessie Smith albums

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  15. 15
    + 404
    - 101


    See The Best Dianne Reeves albums

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  16. 16
    + 434
    - 76

    ranked low on reranks
    Pop music, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz See The Best Lena Horne albums

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  17. 17
    + 295
    - 89

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Vocal jazz, Post-bop, Jazz See The Best Betty Carter albums

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  18. 18
    + 538
    - 63

    ranked low on reranks & added by jstyles1948
    Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll See The Best Etta Jones albums

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  19. 19
    + 258
    - 86


    Jazz See The Best Abbey Lincoln albums

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  20. 20
    + 407
    - 104


    Acoustic music, Jazz, Blues See The Best Melody Gardot albums

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  21. 21
    + 419
    - 136


    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm See The Best Natalie Cole albums

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  22. 22
    + 315
    - 90

    added by aschultze
    Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz See The Best Rosemary Clooney albums

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  23. 23
    + 202
    - 46


    Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz See The Best Eartha Kitt albums

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  24. 24
    + 223
    - 71


    Hip hop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

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  25. 25
    + 318
    - 62

    ranked low on reranks
    Jazz, Blues See The Best Madeleine Peyroux albums

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  26. 26
    + 192
    - 52

    added by jstyles1948
    Popular music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

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  27. 27
    + 311
    - 68

    ranked low on reranks
    Folk music, Jazz, Country See The Best Cassandra Wilson albums

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  28. 28
    + 277
    - 93


    Neo soul, Jazz fusion, Jazz

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  29. 29
    + 234
    - 73

    added by TomDuncan
    Traditional pop music, Jazz

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  30. 30
    + 240
    - 68


    Pop music, Jazz, Blues

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  31. 31
    + 271
    - 45

    ranked low on reranks
    Torch song, Pop music, Cool jazz

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  32. 32
    + 244
    - 47


    Vocal jazz, Jazz

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  33. 33
    + 153
    - 43


    Pop music, Cool jazz, Jazz

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  34. 34
    + 131
    - 18

    added by ThomasBreuer
    Cool jazz, Swing music, Traditional pop music

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  35. 35
    + 126
    - 34


    Traditional pop music

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  36. 36
    + 153
    - 53


    Traditional pop music, Big band

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  37. 37
    + 130
    - 69

    added by RsdofnyUs
    Smooth jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

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  38. 38
    + 90
    - 31


    Jazz

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  39. 39
    + 112
    - 53

    added by patrick.christie
    Traditional pop music, Jazz

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  40. 40
    + 154
    - 38

    ranked low on reranks & added by ozzyn
    Pop music, Operatic pop, Rhythm and blues

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  41. 41
    + 98
    - 51


    Third stream, Swing music, Hard bop

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  42. 42
    + 133
    - 55

    added by aschultze
    Girl group, Swing music, Boogie-woogie

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  43. 43
    + 85
    - 15

    added by looksharp
    Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz, Bossa nova

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  44. 44
    + 115
    - 48

    added by MarkBroersen
    Jazz fusion, Jazz

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  45. 45
    + 134
    - 56


    Pop music, Jazz, Country

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  46. 46
    + 65
    - 58


    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Jazz fusion

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  47. 47
    + 77
    - 53


    ;
  48. 48
    + 56
    - 31

    added by jstyles1948
    Jazz, Blues

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  49. 49
    + 58
    - 48


    ;
  50. 50
    + 51
    - 28


    Jazz

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