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

Adam Tyler
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39.5k votes 9.1k voters 901.6k views 217 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
2,429 265
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Ella Fitzgerald Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music - See The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums

The Best Female Rock Singers The Best Rock Vocalists

2
1,573 237
Sarah Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Sarah Vaughan Cool jazz, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz - See The Best Sarah Vaughan albums

3
2,103 243
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Billie Holiday Torch song, Ballad, Swing music - See The Best Billie Holiday albums

4
1,526 227
Nina Simone is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Nina Simone Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz - See The Best Nina Simone albums

5
933 132
Dinah Washington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Dinah Washington Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz, Rhythm and blues - See The Best Dinah Washington albums

6
608 137
Carmen McRae is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Carmen McRae Ballad, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz - See The Best Carmen McRae albums

7
793 257
Peggy Lee is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Peggy Lee Traditional pop music, Jazz - See The Best Peggy Lee albums

8
578 179
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 Vocal jazz, Bebop - See The Best Anita O'Day albums

9
703 149
Nancy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Nancy Wilson Pop music, Cabaret, Jazz - See The Best Nancy Wilson albums

10
452 125
Shirley Horn is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Shirley Horn Jazz, Blues - See The Best Shirley Horn albums

11
1,288 399
Diana Krall is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Diana Krall Traditional pop music, Jazz, Bossa nova - See The Best Diana Krall albums

12
1,154 532
Norah Jones is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Norah Jones Vocal jazz, Jazz blues, Jazz fusion - See The Best Norah Jones albums

13
1,232 559
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 Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul - See The Best Amy Winehouse songs

14
540 103
Lena Horne is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Lena Horne Pop music, Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz - See The Best Lena Horne albums

15
380 118
Betty Carter is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Betty Carter Vocal jazz, Post-bop, Jazz - See The Best Betty Carter albums

The Greatest Female Gospel Singers 16 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

16
731 91
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 Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll - See The Best Etta Jones albums

17
500 127
Dianne Reeves is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Dianne Reeves See The Best Dianne Reeves albums

18
401 129
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 Traditional pop music, Vocal jazz - See The Best Rosemary Clooney albums

19
478 86
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 Jazz, Blues - See The Best Bessie Smith albums

20
495 142
Melody Gardot is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Melody Gardot Acoustic music, Jazz, Blues - See The Best Melody Gardot albums

21
312 109
Abbey Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Abbey Lincoln Jazz - See The Best Abbey Lincoln albums

22
505 171
Natalie Cole is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Natalie Cole Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Quiet storm - See The Best Natalie Cole albums

23
399 100
Madeleine Peyroux is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Madeleine Peyroux Jazz, Blues - See The Best Madeleine Peyroux albums

24
291 109
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 Traditional pop music, Jazz

25
360 75
Julie London is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Julie London Torch song, Pop music, Cool jazz

26
273 85
Eartha Kitt is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Eartha Kitt Torch song, Cabaret, Vocal jazz - See The Best Eartha Kitt albums

27
353 131
Esperanza Spalding is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Esperanza Spalding Neo soul, Jazz fusion, Jazz

28
281 94
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 Hip hop music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

29
393 94
Cassandra Wilson is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Cassandra Wilson Folk music, Jazz, Country - See The Best Cassandra Wilson albums

The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years 12 Struggles Every Sarcastic Person Understands

30
287 99
Diane Schuur is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Diane Schuur Pop music, Jazz, Blues

31
229 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 Popular music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

32
199 64
June Christy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
June Christy Pop music, Cool jazz, Jazz

33
223 93
Doris Day is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Doris Day Traditional pop music, Big band

34
314 68
Stacey Kent is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Stacey Kent Vocal jazz, Jazz

35
187 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 Cool jazz, Swing music, Traditional pop music

36
159 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 Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz, Bossa nova

37
167 57
Jo Stafford is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Jo Stafford Traditional pop music

38
191 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 Girl group, Swing music, Boogie-woogie

39
179 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 Smooth jazz, Post-bop, Jazz

40
119 57
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

41
144 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 Traditional pop music, Jazz

42
116 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 Third stream, Swing music, Hard bop

43
147 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 Jazz fusion, Jazz

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44
119 52
Tierney Sutton is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?

45
67 46
Mildred Bailey is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?

46
93 78
Ann Hampton Callaway is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?

47
73 67
Cheryl Bentyne is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?

48
70 32
Roberta Flack is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Roberta Flack Folk music, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

49
121 47
Keely Smith is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Keely Smith Pop music, Jazz

50
159 74
Renee Olstead is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Make Your Voice Heard: Who Are the Best Female Jazz Singers?
Renee Olstead Pop music, Jazz, Country