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

Adam Tyler
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40.2k votes 9.3k voters 913.7k views 218 items Embed

List Rules 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!
list ordered by

1
2,479 276
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Ella Fitzgerald Côte d'Azur Concerts on Verve, Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas - See The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums

The Best Female Rock Singers The Best Concert Movies Streaming on Hulu

2
1,606 245
Sarah Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Sarah Vaughan Giants of Jazz, Basie-Vaughan, How Long Has This Been Going On? - See The Best Sarah Vaughan albums

3
2,142 247
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Billie Holiday Lady in Satin, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport, The Best of Billie Holiday - See The Best Billie Holiday albums

4
1,554 232
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Nina Simone The Very Best of Nina Simone, Nina Simone Sings the Blues, At Carnegie Hall - See The Best Nina Simone albums

5
943 133
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Dinah Washington For Those in Love, A Slick Chick (On the Mellow Side), Dinah '62 - See The Best Dinah Washington albums

6
614 140
Carmen McRae is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Carmen McRae Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport, Boy Meets Girl, Carmen Sings Monk - See The Best Carmen McRae albums

7
800 261
Peggy Lee is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Peggy Lee White Christmas, Christmas Carousel, Giants of Jazz - See The Best Peggy Lee albums

8
593 187
Anita O'Day is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
motosaki added Anita O'Day This is Anita, Anita O'Day Sings the Winners, Anita O'Day - See The Best Anita O'Day albums

9
716 150
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Nancy Wilson In Person, The Swingin's Mutual!, A Nancy Wilson Christmas - See The Best Nancy Wilson albums

10
454 126
Shirley Horn is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Shirley Horn You Won't Forget Me, I Remember Miles, I Love You - See The Best Shirley Horn albums

11
1,311 414
Diana Krall is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Diana Krall Christmas Songs, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, When I Look in Your Eyes - See The Best Diana Krall albums

12
1,179 545
Norah Jones is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Norah Jones Come Away With Me, Feels Like Home, The Fall - See The Best Norah Jones albums

13
1,268 571
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
TommyWimmer added Amy Winehouse Back to Black, Frank, Lioness: Hidden Treasures - See The Best Amy Winehouse songs

14
550 106
Lena Horne is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Lena Horne Merry From Lena, Stormy Weather, Seasons of a Life - See The Best Lena Horne albums

15
385 119
Betty Carter is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Betty Carter Ray Charles and Betty Carter, Inside Betty Carter, I Can't Help It - See The Best Betty Carter albums

The Greatest Female Gospel Singers The Top 500 Musical Groups/Artists of All Time

16
753 94
Etta James is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
jstyles1948 added Etta James At Last!, Tell Mama, I'd Rather Go Blind - See The Best Etta Jones albums

17
504 130
Dianne Reeves is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Dianne Reeves The Calling: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan, Good Night^! and Good Luck., A Little Moonlight - See The Best Dianne Reeves albums

18
406 135
Rosemary Clooney is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
aschultze added Rosemary Clooney Christmas With Rosemary Clooney, A Very Special Christmas With Rosemary Clooney, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" - See The Best Rosemary Clooney albums

19
483 88
Bessie Smith is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
jstyles1948 added Bessie Smith Squeeze Me, The World's Greatest Blues Singer, 1923-1933 Empress of the Blues - See The Best Bessie Smith albums

20
505 147
Melody Gardot is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Melody Gardot My One and Only Thrill, Worrisome Heart, The Absence - See The Best Melody Gardot albums

21
317 111
Abbey Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Abbey Lincoln Straight Ahead, Wholly Earth, Devil's Got Your Tongue - See The Best Abbey Lincoln albums

22
511 176
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Natalie Cole Christmas With You, Unforgettable: With Love, This Will Be Natalie Cole's Everlasting Love - See The Best Natalie Cole albums

23
407 102
Madeleine Peyroux is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Madeleine Peyroux Half the Perfect World, Dreamland, Careless Love - See The Best Madeleine Peyroux albums

24
294 114
Jane Monheit is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
TomDuncan added Jane Monheit Taking a Chance on Love, Come Dream With Me, Never Never Land

25
367 77
Julie London is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Julie London Love Letters / Feeling Good, The End of the World / The Wonderful World Of, Ultra-Lounge

26
358 131
Esperanza Spalding is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Esperanza Spalding Chamber Music Society, Esperanza, Junjo

27
277 86
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Eartha Kitt That Bad Eartha, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, Purr-fect: Greatest Hits - See The Best Eartha Kitt albums

28
286 95
Dee Dee Bridgewater is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Dee Dee Bridgewater Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver, Dear Ella, This Is New

29
399 94
Cassandra Wilson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Cassandra Wilson Belly of the Sun, New Moon Daughter, Blue Light 'til Dawn - See The Best Cassandra Wilson albums

The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years The Best Reasons to Get Married

30
292 99
Diane Schuur is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Diane Schuur Diane Schuur & The Count Basie Orchestra, Midnight, Schuur Fire

31
232 72
Esther Phillips is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
jstyles1948 added Esther Phillips Anthology, And I Love Him! / Esther, Alone Again

32
201 64
June Christy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
June Christy The Song Is June!, Somewhere There's Music, Something Cool

33
226 95
Doris Day is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Doris Day The Doris Day Christmas Album, Young Man With a Horn, Cuttin' Capers / Bright & Shiny

34
321 69
Stacey Kent is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Stacey Kent Raconte-moi..., The Boy Next Door, Dreamsville

35
193 39
Blossom Dearie is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
ThomasBreuer added Blossom Dearie Blossom Dearie Sings Comden and Green, Blossom Dearie, May I Come In?

36
166 40
Astrud Gilberto is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
looksharp added Astrud Gilberto Gilberto with Turrentine, A Certain Smile^! A Certain Sadness, The Astrud Gilberto Album

37
170 58
Jo Stafford is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Jo Stafford Happy Holiday, The Joyful Season, Just Reminiscin

38
193 83
The Andrews Sisters is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
aschultze added The Andrews Sisters A Merry Christmas With Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, The Andrews Sisters Christmas, Andrews Sisters Meet Bing Crosby

39
180 93
Patricia Barber is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
RsdofnyUs added Patricia Barber Nightclub, The Premonition Years: 1994-2002, Modern Cool

40
127 57
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Joni Mitchell Blue, Court and Spark, Ladies of the Canyon

41
146 75
Sophie Milman is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
patrick.christie added Sophie Milman Sophie Milman, Make Someone Happy, Her Very Best… So Far

42
117 70
Mary Lou Williams is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Mary Lou Williams The Chronological Classics: Mary Lou Williams 1949-1951, The Chronological Classics: Mary Lou Williams 1951-1953, The Chronological Classics: Mary Lou Williams 1953-1954

43
150 65
Flora Purim is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
MarkBroersen added Flora Purim The Magicians, Butterfly Dreams, Queen of the Night

Songs That Were Total Ripoffs The Best Pudding Brands

44
122 52
Tierney Sutton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Tierney Sutton Sosv1, I'm With the Band, Introducing Tierney Sutton

45
69 47
Mildred Bailey is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Mildred Bailey All of Me, Cocktail Hour, The Chronological Classics: Mildred Bailey 1929-1932

46
93 79
Ann Hampton Callaway is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Ann Hampton Callaway To Ella With Love, Signature, After Ours

47
73 68
Cheryl Bentyne is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Cheryl Bentyne Let Me Off Uptown, Talk of the Town, Let's Misbehave: the Cole Porter Song Book

48
74 33
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Roberta Flack The Christmas Album, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway

49
40 28
Ruth Brown is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
rick-scott added Ruth Brown Blues on Broadway, Miss Rhythm (Greatest Hits and More), Miss Rhythm: The Rest & More of the Best

50
122 48
Keely Smith is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Keely Smith The Wildest!, Buona Sera, Angelina