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Black Female Jazz singers

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 
Can anyone recommend some good authentic black female jazz singers?
post #2 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Can anyone recommend some good authentic black female jazz singers?
Ella Fitzgerald
Sarah Vaughn
Abbey Lincoln
Billie Holiday
post #3 of 71
Nina Simone
Dinah Washington
Carmen Mcrae
Cassandra Wilson
Dianne Reeves
post #4 of 71
While Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Betty Carter happen to be my favorite female jazz vocalists, I suspect their excellence is a matter of individual talent and not some side-effect of skin color. For the sake of good taste, perhaps you could leave artists' melanin content out of your quest for originality and retitle your thread "Authentic Female Jazz Singers."
post #5 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrypt View Post
While Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Betty Carter happen to be my favorite female jazz vocalists, I suspect their excellence is a matter of individual talent and not some side-effect of skin color. For the sake of good taste, perhaps you could leave artists' melanin content out of your quest for originality and retitle your thread "Authentic Female Jazz Singers."
A noble and fair suggestion.


My recommendations from the modern era include:

Maysa Leak
Rachelle Ferrell
Anita Baker
Lisa Shaw (technically a house diva, but some of her collaborations have demonstrated the potential)
post #6 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrypt View Post
While Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Betty Carter happen to be my favorite female jazz vocalists, I suspect their excellence is a matter of individual talent and not some side-effect of skin color. For the sake of good taste, perhaps you could leave artists' melanin content out of your quest for originality and retitle your thread "Authentic Female Jazz Singers."
Thank you.

Add Nnenna Freelon to the previously mentioned.
post #7 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrypt View Post
While Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Betty Carter happen to be my favorite female jazz vocalists, I suspect their excellence is a matter of individual talent and not some side-effect of skin color. For the sake of good taste, perhaps you could leave artists' melanin content out of your quest for originality and retitle your thread "Authentic Female Jazz Singers."
If I were the OP, I wouldn't have meant what you're asserting. You really cannot doubt that the cultural roots of African Americans from that time period helped to provide a magically unique sound for them. Perhaps he just likes that 'black soul' more than the more mainstream and conventional singers from this same time period. I don't think the OP was intending to be racist.
post #8 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aman View Post
If I were the OP, I wouldn't have meant what you're asserting. You really cannot doubt that the cultural roots of African Americans from that time period helped to provide a magically unique sound for them. Perhaps he just likes that 'black soul' more than the more mainstream and conventional singers from this same time period. I don't think the OP was intending to be racist.
i'm going to side with Aman on this one. jazz, by its origins, is both a uniquely American art form and a uniquely African-American art form. the roots of jazz music are directly nourished by the black American experience. without it, there would be no jazz.

i personally take issue with the term "authentic."

having said that, the way the request is particularly phrased leads me to suggest Nina Simone most highly, as not only is she "authentically black," her experience as a black woman is an overt influence in her brilliant music.
post #9 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrypt View Post
While Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Betty Carter happen to be my favorite female jazz vocalists, I suspect their excellence is a matter of individual talent and not some side-effect of skin color. For the sake of good taste, perhaps you could leave artists' melanin content out of your quest for originality and retitle your thread "Authentic Female Jazz Singers."
Your point is well taken but perhaps the OP is simply doing research for some kind of project/paper for school.

In any event the present list of names is quite impressive and more than enough to provide gist for any mill (or purpose).
post #10 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by VicAjax View Post
i'm going to side with Aman on this one. jazz, by its origins, is both a uniquely American art form and a uniquely African-American art form. the roots of jazz music are directly nourished by the black American experience. without it, there would be no jazz.

i personally take issue with the term "authentic."

having said that, the way the request is particularly phrased leads me to suggest Nina Simone most highly, as not only is she "authentically black," her experience as a black woman is an overt influence in her brilliant music.
By those very same criteria I would place Billie Holiday at the top of the list. Does not "Strange Fruit" or "God Bless The Child" fit that bill to a tee? Anyway, Nina Simone is nonetheless an excellent choice.
post #11 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphp@optonline View Post
By those very same criteria I would place Billie Holiday at the top of the list. Does not "Strange Fruit" or "God Bless The Child" fit that bill to a tee? Anyway, Nina Simone is nonetheless an excellent choice.
Billie Holiday is, obviously, the quintessential female jazz voice, and you're absolutely right that some of her lyrics directly address the black experience in a visceral and heartwrenching way... "Strange Fruit" is devastatingly vivid. Simone performed it quite a bit, in fact.

i guess the reason Nina Simone came to mind first is because she wrote much of her own material, including the legendary "Mississippi Goddam." Holiday, on the other hand, was more exclusively a performer.
post #12 of 71
Is this racist?
post #13 of 71

Why do they gotta be black?

Billie Holliday then Nina Simone (whatever she is), and then the rest.
post #14 of 71
Respect to the OP. I totally understand what you are saying. There is nothing at all wrong with asking for great Black singers. It is a great compliment.
post #15 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by ken36 View Post
Is this racist?
I don't think so.

Anyway, some great recommendations. An album that I picked up by chance that turned out to be quite good: Paula West, "Come What May." Apparently a Bay area singer.
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