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

Adam Tyler
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41.0k votes 9.5k voters 920.6k views 220 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
2,504 286
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 Crossover Jazz Artists The Most Famous Jazz Guitar Players

2
1,630 251
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
2,167 251
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
1,576 239
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
950 137
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
619 145
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
809 265
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
598 189
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
723 153
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
459 128
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
1,327 418
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
1,197 551
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
1,289 579
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
553 110
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
390 121
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 Jazz Trombonists of All Time Kpop Idols Who Betrayed Their Record Company

16
767 95
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
511 132
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
411 139
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
487 90
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
509 149
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
319 115
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
516 179
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
411 106
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
300 119
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
374 81
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
363 135
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
282 90
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
289 98
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
402 97
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 Musicians Who Died Before 30 The 20 Most Epic Wedding FAILs of All Time

30
297 101
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
236 74
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
202 68
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
227 98
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
196 41
Blossom Dearie is listed (or ranked) 34 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?

35
326 73
Stacey Kent is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Stacey Kent Raconte-moi..., The Boy Next Door, Dreamsville

36
171 42
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
172 59
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 87
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
133 61
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Joni Mitchell Blue, Court and Spark, Ladies of the Canyon

40
180 97
Patricia Barber is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
148 77
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
119 71
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
151 67
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

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44
123 54
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
70 49
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 80
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
80 34
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
74 69
Cheryl Bentyne is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
124 49
Keely Smith is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Keely Smith The Wildest!, Buona Sera, Angelina

50
41 29
Ruth Brown is listed (or ranked) 50 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