650 voters

The Best Spoken Word Artists/Bands

Updated June 14, 2019 1.7k votes 650 voters 62.8k views79 items

Spoken word artists list, with photos, ranked best to worst by votes. List of good spoken word bands includes a filter so you can sort by the group’s label and what albums they've put out. This list of the top spoken word bands in the world includes all musicians who have released recordings that have gotten distribution, and is an up-to-date list. Spoken word groups and artists are shown below along with any additional genres in which their music belongs. If available, you can also see information about where all spoken word bands on this list got started. These are truly the greatest spoken word bands of all time, since the most famous spoken word artists ever are listed, and the order is decided by actual fans of the best spoken word music.

You can click on the spoken word band names to see more information about that particular notable spoken word group. If they're near the top of the best spoken word artist list, though, then they should have at least some information available. All the top spoken word bands named on the list also have discographies on their pages if you click on the spoken word band names themselves.

This list is made up of many different artists, including Allen Ginsberg and Jim Carroll. Vote for the best artists on the list to see them rise to the top. Which is better for an overall top ranking of this topic, Lydia Lunch or Saul Williams?

All important, significant and iconic names in spoken word music history deserve your votes, so make sure to choose wisely. You can only vote once on this list.

The list includes all new spoken word bands, and if there are any missing on the list, you can always add them yourself. Just make sure they aren't already on the list and check your spelling, because this is already an accurate compilation of the best examples of spoken word, as well as a good place to start if you're asking yourself, or friends, exactly how to get into spoken word music. Especially since the bands at the top of the list will at the very least be the best choices if you're looking for a list of good spoken word bands with which to start out. No point in listening to them if they aren't actually good or even half-way decent spoken word bands.

This list answers the questions "who are the best spoken word bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest spoken word musician ever?"

If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular spoken word bands that you might've heard of, but not really listened to closely enough to cast an informed vote.

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    More Allen Ginsberg 

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      Some wit once quipped that when you go to Heaven, you hear the voice of God—who is actually imitating the late, great "movie trailer guy," Don LaFontaine. If that's so, for those jazzers entering the Heavenly corner reserved for bereted hipsters and late-night flipsters, Big G must assuredly be trying to cop Tony Adamo. Now let's get this out at Bar One: Adamo, like Beluga caviar, is indeed and in deed an acquired taste. The prophet and proponent of "hipspokenword," his is a unique oral gumbo of supremely involving lyric, funky jazz talk, historical tilt, cultural commentary, and no-jive lingo. And on this effort, it is all infectiously served up over a bed of meticulously played white-hot jazz. With Tony Adamo and the New York Crew, Adamo and his mates follow up his terrific Miles of Blu (2013, Random Act Records) and take things to an even hipper, higher performance level. This gang soars brilliantly across eleven selections that offer this rhapsode's poignant urban-hip Apple-jacked-up spoke-sung stuff, backed by a killer quintet. This is high-energy fruit that kicks tail right off with Adamo riffing on free jazz stalwart, Eddie Gale ("Gale Blowin High"). And, the intensity doesn't ever let up for ten more tracks, yo. As hip and talented as Adamo is, the supporting ensemble is as muscular and swinging as its leader. Drummer Mike Clark, he of Headhunters fame, pushes this group rhythmically to extremes. Pianist Michael Wolff stretches out neatly at every corner and bassist Richie Goods drives things like a mad trainman. The front line horns of saxophonist Donald Harrison and trumpeter Tim Ouimette (who wrote the music and horn charts) are as swinging, funky and free as the Big Apple itself ("Buddhist Blues" "To Bop or Not to Be"). They cook hotter and with more intensity than a roomful of Cul-school white hats. Adamo's "hipspokenword" street-seasoned lyrics and jazzman salutes emanate from his ballsy baritone and his hard, hard swing is narco-addictive ("Mama's Meat Pies" "Wisdom of Oz"). There's power and truth being dealt when this cat lets fur fly ("Picasso at Midnite," here told over Ouimette's solid free cries and Clark's fireworks). The addition of Eddie Harris's "Listen Here" complete with Harrison's blow and Adamo's vocal lines and the Art Blakey acknowledgement, "Messengers Burnin,' would have a subway rodent grab his lid, come up and see the light and head non-stop to catch the late show at the Blue Note. Tony Adamo and the New York Crew is a romp—a fascinating and swinging vision seen through the hippest and most talented of Ray-Bans. Double dig?

    Track Listing: Gale Blowin High; City Swings, Buddhist Blues; You Gotta B Fly; Mama's Meat Pies; To Bop or Not to Be; Picasso at Midnite; Wisdom of Oz; Listen Here Listen Up; General T; Messengers Burnin

    Personnel: Tony Adamo: vocals, hipspokenword; Mike Clark: drums; Donald Harrison: alto saxophone; Tim Ouimette: trumpet;Michael Wolff: piano; Richie Goods: bass; Lenny White: drums (1); Bill Summers: percussion (1,4,5);Jean C. Santalis: guitar (4).

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    More Jim Carroll 

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