The Best Jazz Albums Featuring Vocals: Harmony and Voice

Music lovers often struggle to find jazz albums that blend perfect vocals with captivating harmony. Jazz singing is an art, bringing a unique soul and emotion to songs. Our article lists the top vocal jazz albums, guiding you through harmonious masterpieces crafted by legends.

Discover your new favorite tune!

Key Takeaways

  • Jazz vocals are characterized by improvisation, scat singing, and unique use of vocal instruments like bending and stretching notes.
  • Vocalists play a crucial role in jazz harmony, using rich and complex harmonies to express emotion and add depth to their performances.
  • Top 10 vocal jazz albums include iconic works by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Jimmy Rushing, the Boswell Sisters, and Bing Crosby.
  • Innovative jazz vocal technologies such as Cherches on Lyrics and Acoustic Nanotube Technology are reshaping the way jazz vocals are explored and enhanced in modern music.

Defining Jazz Vocals

Jazz vocals are characterized by their improvisation, scat singing, and use of vocal instruments. The harmony and voice in jazz music play a crucial role in creating the distinctive sound of this genre.

Characteristics of Jazz Vocals

Jazz vocals stand out because they bend and stretch notes in special ways. Singers often slide from one note to another and might even make up some of the song on the spot, which is called improvisation.

They play with rhythm too, sometimes singing slightly off the beat to create a unique feeling.

Voices in jazz can be just as important as any instrument in the band. Great singers like Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong show how voice adds more than just words to a tune; it brings emotion and personality.

Now that you have an idea about what makes jazz vocals tick, let’s explore how harmony joins with these voices to make magic happen in jazz music.

Role of Harmony and Voice in Jazz Music

Moving from discussing the characteristics of jazz vocals to exploring the role of harmony and voice in jazz music, it’s essential to understand the significant contribution of vocalists to the overall sound.

In jazz music, harmony plays a crucial role, as vocalists often use rich and complex harmonies to express emotion and add depth to their performances. Meanwhile, the voice acts as a powerful instrument, conveying feelings through improvisation and interpretation.

Jazz vocalists are known for their ability to blend with other musicians seamlessly while adding an emotional layer that resonates with audiences.

Furthermore, within jazz music, vocalists have contributed immensely to shaping the genre by infusing it with unique styles and approaches. Their influence extends beyond just singing but encompasses innovative techniques that have become essential elements in modern jazz compositions.

Top 10 Vocal Jazz Albums of All Time

Take a deep dive into the top 10 vocal jazz albums of all time, from Ella Fitzgerald’s iconic Duke Ellington Songbook to Louis Armstrong’s timeless What A Wonderful World. Each album showcases the harmony and voice that has made these artists legends in the world of jazz music.

Ella Fitzgerald: Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook

Ella Fitzgerald’s album “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook” offers iconic vocal jazz performances. It showcases the timeless classics of Duke Ellington with Ella’s masterful interpretation.

The album features harmonious melodies and Ella’s enchanting voice, making it a must-have for any jazz music enthusiast.

This album has solidified its place as one of the best vocal jazz albums of all time, showcasing Ella Fitzgerald’s unparalleled talent and Duke Ellington’s timeless compositions. That makes it an essential addition to any collection of classic jazz vocal albums, offering a captivating blend of harmony and voice that continues to resonate with audiences today.

Louis Armstrong: Satchmo at Symphony Hall

Moving from the elegant vocals of Ella Fitzgerald, we delve into the iconic live album “Satchmo at Symphony Hall” by Louis Armstrong. This album captures the dynamic essence of a live jazz performance with its raw energy and vibrant improvisations.

Recorded in 1947, this album showcases Armstrong’s remarkable trumpet skills and infectious stage presence, making it a timeless gem in jazz history.

Louis Armstrong’s “Satchmo at Symphony Hall” stands out for its unparalleled display of virtuosity, exuberance, and charm that only Armstrong could deliver. The electrifying solos and spirited ensemble playing make this recording an essential addition to any jazz collection.

Billie Holiday: Love Songs

Moving on from Louis Armstrong’s iconic live album, “Satchmo at Symphony Hall,” we come to the timeless allure of Billie Holiday’s “Love Songs.” Billie Holiday was known for her emotive and captivating voice that made her one of the most influential jazz vocalists of all time.

In this album, her soulful renditions of love songs such as “The Very Thought Of You” and “But Beautiful” showcase her ability to convey raw emotion through every note. With a blend of vulnerability and strength, she leaves an indelible mark with each performance.

The intimacy and depth in Billie Holiday’s delivery make “Love Songs” a must-listen for anyone who appreciates jazz vocal music.

Joe Williams: Joe Williams Sings, Count Basie Swing

Moving on to another iconic jazz album featuring vocals, “Joe Williams Sings, Count Basie Swing” is an essential addition to any jazz collection. The album showcases the powerful and soulful voice of Joe Williams alongside the impeccable swing arrangements of the Count Basie Orchestra.

This collaboration resulted in timeless renditions of classic jazz standards that continue to captivate audiences worldwide. With its infectious energy and stellar musicianship, this album exemplifies the sheer brilliance of Williams’ vocal delivery and Basie’s band dynamics, making it a must-listen for both seasoned jazz enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

The seamless blend of Williams’ velvety vocals with Basie’s dynamic orchestrations creates an immersive listening experience that perfectly embodies the essence of swing music. Each track on this album exudes charm and charisma, effortlessly drawing listeners into its rich tapestry of harmonious melodies and spirited rhythms.

Louis Armstrong: What A Wonderful World

Louis Armstrong’s album “What A Wonderful World” is a classic in the jazz vocal genre. It features his iconic gravelly voice and timeless performances. This album showcases Armstrong at his best, with heartfelt renditions of familiar tunes that continue to resonate with listeners today.

The soothing melodies and uplifting lyrics make it a must-have for any jazz music collection.

Innovative Jazz Vocal Technologies will further enhance your appreciation for vocal jazz music. Let’s delve into the innovative technologies that have transformed the way we experience jazz vocals.

Ella Fitzgerald: In Hi-Fi

Following the classic jazz vocals of Louis Armstrong, we shift our focus to Ella Fitzgerald’s timeless album “In Hi-Fi.” Known for her impeccable range and velvety tone, Ella captivates listeners with her expert phrasing and emotive delivery.

The album showcases her remarkable vocal technique, effortlessly blending scat singing with intricate jazz melodies. With an impressive repertoire of standards and swing tunes, Fitzgerald’s “In Hi-Fi” remains a must-listen for anyone seeking to delve into the rich world of vocal jazz music.

Sarah Vaughan: The War Years, 1941-1947

Moving on from the melodic tunes of Ella Fitzgerald, we delve into Sarah Vaughan’s journey during the war years from 1941 to 1947. This period marked the emergence of Sarah Vaughan as a prominent jazz vocalist, showcasing her incredible vocal range and skillful improvisation.

Her enchanting voice graced numerous recordings, leaving a lasting impact on jazz music history. Vaughan’s contributions during this time solidified her position as one of the finest jazz singers of all time, setting the stage for her illustrious career in the years to come.

Vaughan’s performances during these pivotal years showcased her ability to convey raw emotion through her singing, captivating audiences with each powerful note. As she navigated through this tumultuous era in American history, she honed her craft and developed a style uniquely her own – establishing herself among the legendary voices that shaped jazz music forever.

Jimmy Rushing: Count Basie Plays The Blues

Jimmy Rushing: Count Basie Plays The Blues is a classic jazz album that showcases the powerful vocals of Jimmy Rushing set against the backdrop of Count Basie’s iconic bluesy arrangements.

As part of the top 10 vocal jazz albums of all time, this record captures the raw emotion and soulful delivery that defined Rushing’s style. With its timeless melodies and expressive harmonies, this album continues to resonate with jazz enthusiasts looking for authentic vocal performances.

Moving on to Innovative Jazz Vocal Technologies..

Boswell Sisters: That\’s How Rhythm Was Born

The Boswell Sisters‘ album “That’s How Rhythm Was Born” is a notable contribution to vocal jazz. Their tight harmonies and rhythmic innovation set the stage for future vocal groups.

This classic album showcases their unique blend of swing and close harmony, making it a must-listen for jazz enthusiasts interested in the evolution of vocal jazz music.

Bing Crosby: The Essential Bing Crosby

Transitioning from the Boswell Sisters to Bing Crosby, we shift our focus to “The Essential Bing Crosby.” Bing Crosby, a significant figure in jazz and popular music history, has left an indelible mark on vocal jazz.

His albums continue to resonate with his distinctive baritone voice and timeless style. One of his essential jazz vocal albums is considered a must-have for any serious record collection.

Bing Crosby’s enduring influence on jazz music is evident through classic recordings like “Swinging on a Star” and “Pennies from Heaven.” Notably, Crosby’s rich vocals have contributed to shaping the landscape of jazz music featuring vocals.

Innovative Jazz Vocal Technologies

Explores advancements in jazz vocal technologies such as the use of acoustic nanotube technology and Cherches on lyrics. Dive deeper into the innovative ways jazz vocals are being explored and enhanced in modern music.

Cherches on Lyrics

Jazz vocalists use improvisation to express emotions and interpret lyrics. They experiment with melody and harmony, creating a unique musical experience. Mark Murphy’s album “Stolen Moments” showcases this technique.

Jazz vocalists explore new ways of delivering lyrics, making each performance one-of-a-kind.

Now let’s look at the innovative jazz vocal technologies that are shaping the future of jazz music.

Acoustic Nanotube Technology

Moving to the innovative realm of technology in jazz vocal music, Acoustic Nanotube Technology is reshaping the way we experience sound. By utilizing tiny carbon nanotubes, this cutting-edge technique enhances the acoustic properties of materials used in musical instruments and recording equipment.

This groundbreaking advancement leads to improved clarity, resonance, and richness in vocal performances, offering an immersive and transcendent listening experience for jazz enthusiasts seeking unparalleled sonic quality.

Acoustic Nanotube Technology revolutionizes traditional methods by meticulously refining the intricacies of a vocalist’s timbre and tonal range. This state-of-the-art approach enables a heightened level of precision in capturing the nuances of jazz vocals while maintaining authenticity and raw emotion.

Benefits of Jazz Vocal Music

Jazz vocal music allows for emotional expression, holds cultural significance, and has had a lasting influence on modern music. Discover the timeless appeal of jazz vocals and their impact on musical history.

Emotional expression

Jazz vocal music conveys deep emotions and feelings, touching the listeners’ hearts through soulful melodies and powerful lyrics. Iconic jazz vocalists like Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong have a remarkable ability to express raw emotions, whether it’s love, joy, or heartache, painting vivid pictures with their voices that resonate deeply with audiences worldwide.

These emotional expressions in jazz vocal music create a unique connection between the listener and the performer. Through intricately woven harmonies and heartfelt renditions, jazz vocal albums like Ella Fitzgerald’s “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook” and Sarah Vaughan’s “The War Years, 1941-1947” continue to captivate audiences with their timeless portrayal of human experiences.

The cultural significance of these emotional expressions in jazz vocals has left an indelible mark on modern music, influencing artists across genres and generations.

Cultural significance

The emotional expression conveyed by jazz vocal music holds a deep cultural significance. Jazz has been an essential part of American culture, playing a significant role in shaping the country’s musical heritage.

From portraying the African-American experience to celebrating diversity and resilience, jazz vocal albums have become an integral part of cultural identity, resonating with people from various backgrounds.

The influence of jazz vocalists goes beyond just music; it extends into societal movements and reflects the values and emotions of different generations, making jazz vocal albums not only influential but also culturally significant.

The legacy and impact of iconic jazz vocal albums contribute to the rich tapestry of cultural expression. These timeless recordings continue to inspire and influence modern music across genres, leaving an indelible mark on artistic creativity and societal narratives.

Legacy and influence on modern music

The emotional depth and cultural significance of jazz vocal music have profoundly influenced modern music across different genres. Jazz vocal techniques like improvisation, scat singing, and expressive storytelling have inspired artists in pop, rock, R&B, and soul music.

The legacy of iconic jazz vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan continues to shape the artistry of contemporary singers and musicians.

Their influence on modern music can be heard in the use of harmony and melody, as well as the emotional expression that defines many popular songs today.

Jazz vocal standards set by legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong have become timeless templates for vocal performances in various musical styles. From melodic phrasing to improvisational flair, jazz vocals have left an indelible mark on modern music’s approach to melody and emotive delivery.


In conclusion, jazz vocal albums are captivating and represent the essence of harmony and voice in music. They showcase the talents of iconic artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday.

These albums continue to inspire and influence modern music with their emotional expression and cultural significance. Exploring these jazz vocal albums opens a gateway to timeless melodies that have shaped the landscape of musical history.