Vocaltraditions.com

A passionate fan celebrates 
the music he loves

8 Banner ARTISTS

This page presents some qualities I’ve found particularly enjoyable for the special artists pictured above in the web site banner icon, as well as links to:
- Their biography 
- One of their many recommended CD's 

For displays of additional artists and their recordings, in many categories, click on web page for
ADDL FAVORITES.


CARMEN McRAE: Although not as celebrated by the general public as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan, for me (and many others), she represents the strongest overall package of stellar voice, peerless lyric interpretation, dramatic credibility and consistent swinging. She's been the singer I've heard most consistently revered as an influence by other Jazz singers. 

- Biography 
-
"Sings Lover Man and Other Billie Holiday Classics"

JOHN COLTRANE: This towering musician, who along with Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young & Charlie Parker was undeniably one of the most influential saxophonists ever, is still today (40 years after his untimely death in 1967), the best selling pure Jazz instrumentalist other than Miles Davis. Although he was best known for his incredibly powerful technique, such as his energized, “sheets of sound” approach, I was most taken with a number of his other qualities: the captivating beauty of his ballads, the emotional purity of his delivery and his earnest and undivided focus on his music. From the 1960 “Giant Steps” LP up through his 1964 extraordinarily spiritual “A Love Supreme”, plus his staggering legacy on the Prestige label and historic work with Miles Davis, I confess to being mesmerized by him, a feeling that was only strengthened by his live performances.

Biography
 
"Ballads"
- John Coltrane Poem by Tom Pierce 

CHRIS CONNOR: She doesn’t possess the unique charisma, powerful voice or dazzling technique of those singers mentioned
above, but her warm, yet cool vocal timbre and enchanting delivery have made her my personal favorite since purchasing in 1960 her “I Miss You So” LP, my very first Jazz vocal album. Since then I’ve enjoyed her live many times and collected virtually everything she’s recorded – over 50 items.

Biography 
"Double Exposure"
 
 
FRANK SINATRA: Like millions of others, I’ve found him an engrossing artist, who consistently symbolized the best of the marriage of Jazz and the Great American Songbook. His compelling phrasing, sensitive ability to interpret lyrics and superb taste in choosing and delivering material all made him virtually a genre onto himself. While there are other many great singers, no one made as many great records as Frank – of which I’ve acquired over 40 in the last 45 years. 

- Biography 
- "Songs for swinging Lovers"

ARETHA FRANKLIN: In 1960, her initial album on Columbia, “Aretha” (available on CD as “The First 12 Sides”) was essentially Gospel-fueled Jazz/Pop, that was an incredibly intense and distinctive debut. As enormously successful as her later “Queen of Soul” career became, I found her outstanding projection on that album and others on Columbia, like the out of print, “Laughing on the Outside”, dynamically demonstrated her ability to use her vocal power in an unforgettable way on more sophisticated material. 

- Biography 
"Sings Standards"
 

JOE WILLIAMS: I have long felt that he was the “Most Complete” singer I’ve heard. This refers to his masterful versatility to effectively succeed at ballads, blues, up tempo Jazz tunes with stupendous scatting, bawdy double-entendre numbers, in front of a powerful big band (like Count Basie’s orchestra) or quiet piano accompaniment (such as his intimate collaborations with George Shearing). His warm, unrivalled stage presence and genuine ease with people also made him a peerless in person performer.

- Biography 
"With the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra"
 

JANIS IAN: This Soft Rock singer-songwriter’s ability to not only write unforgettably poignant personal songs that touched so many of us, but also sing them with a gentle intensity far better than most of that genre made her very special. From the very first line of the very first track (the title song) of her 1974 album “Stars” - further reinforced by her follow-up 1975 LP “Between the Lines” - I was forever hooked.

Biography
  
"Between the Lines" 

FLAMINGOS: They were almost universally acknowledged as one of the truly outstanding vocal groups, from their initial records in Chicago in the early 50’s. The Flamingos always impressed me with their elegantly smooth harmony, multiple exquisite lead singers and unbelievably accomplished choreography. They served as the perfect bridge from the outstanding groups of the 40’s, like the Ravens, Orioles and Five Keys, who pioneered R&B, to the popular Doo Wop groups starting in the mid 50’s Rock & Roll era. Their 1959 “Flamingo Serenade” album of timeless standards, which was one of my main introductions to much of the Great American Songbook, is the absolute “Gold Standard” of ballad group harmony, IMHO.

- Biography
 
-
"Flamingo Serenade" 
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