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.
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!
Albums: Côte d'Azur Concerts on Verve, Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas, The Stockholm Concert, Porgy & Bess, + more
Albums: Lady in Satin, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport, The Best of Billie Holiday, Billie Holiday Sings, Lady Sings the Blues, + more
Albums: The Very Best of Nina Simone, Nina Simone Sings the Blues, At Carnegie Hall, Nina Simone and Piano, Nina Simone at Newport, + more
Albums: Giants of Jazz, Basie-Vaughan, How Long Has This Been Going On?, Misty, Brazilian Romance, + more
Albums: For Those in Love, A Slick Chick (On the Mellow Side), Dinah '62, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 1, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 2, + more
Albums: In Person, The Swingin's Mutual!, A Nancy Wilson Christmas, Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley, Today, + more
Albums: Merry From Lena, Stormy Weather, Seasons of a Life, Classic Ellington, Lena and Gábor and Guitar: A Study in Elegance, + more
Albums: Christmas Songs, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, When I Look in Your Eyes, Only Trust Your Heart, Live in Paris, + more
Albums: Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport, Boy Meets Girl, Carmen Sings Monk, Out of This World, Sings Lover Man and Other Billie Holiday Classics, + more
Albums: At Last!, Tell Mama, I'd Rather Go Blind, The Right Time, 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Etta James, + more
Albums: White Christmas, Christmas Carousel, Giants of Jazz, The Man I Love, Lets Love, + more
Albums: Come Away With Me, Feels Like Home, The Fall, New York City, Not Too Late, + more
Albums: Back to Black, Frank, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, Rehab, Remixes Promo 2, + more
Albums: This is Anita, Anita O'Day Sings the Winners, Anita O'Day, Pick Yourself Up with Anita O'Day, Anita O'Day Swings Cole Porter With Billy May, + more
Albums: Squeeze Me, The World's Greatest Blues Singer, 1923-1933 Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith: The Greatest Blues Singer in the World, The Empress, + more
Albums: Ray Charles and Betty Carter, Inside Betty Carter, I Can't Help It, "Round Midnight", Feed the Fire, + more
Albums: You Won't Forget Me, I Remember Miles, I Love You, Paris, Light Out of Darkness, + more
Albums: Christmas With You, Unforgettable: With Love, This Will Be Natalie Cole's Everlasting Love, Dangerous, Ask a Woman Who Knows, + more
Albums: The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan, Good Night, and Good Luck., A Little Moonlight, The Best of Dianne Reeves, + more
Albums: My One and Only Thrill, Worrisome Heart, The Absence, Some Lessons, Live from SoHo, + more
Albums: Love Letters / Feeling Good, The End of the World / The Wonderful World Of, Ultra-Lounge, Wild, Cool & Swingin', + more
Albums: Christmas With Rosemary Clooney, A Very Special Christmas With Rosemary Clooney, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", Brazil, Clap Hands! Here Comes Rosie! / Fancy Meeting You Here, + more
Albums: Straight Ahead, Wholly Earth, Devil's Got Your Tongue, Who Used to Dance, Through the Years: 1956-2007, + more
Albums: Belly of the Sun, New Moon Daughter, Blue Light 'til Dawn, Jumpworld, Point of View, + more