Top 10 vocal jazz albums of all time

Who & which do I think the top 10 vocal jazz albums of all time?

  1. “Peel me a Grape” by Diana Krall
  2. “Let’s Get Lost” by Chet Baker
  3. “Misty” by Sarah Vaughan
  4. What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
  5. “Route 66” by Nat King Cole
  6. “I’ve Got You under My Skin” by Frank Sinatra
  7. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole
  8. "Something Cool” by June Christy
  9. “The Waters of March” by Susannah McCorkle
  10. "Sweet Georgia Brown” by Anita O’Day

What about yours?


Are you asking what people’s top 10 tracks are, which they’d put on a compilation album?

Top 10 jazz vocalists? Or top 10 vocal jazz albums or top 10 tracks! I am interested in all.

Fine, but you said yours were albums, yet they are tracks, hence my confusion.


Not sure I can do a ranking off-hand, but some food for thought. These are albums:

In the Wee Small Hours - Frank Sinatra

Ella in Berlin - Ella Fitzgerald

Nina Simone’s Finest Hour - Nina Simone

The Astrud Gilberto Album (or the original Getz/Gilberto album) - Astrud Gilberto

Ella and Louis - Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Ella and Louis: Porgy and Bess - Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Tony Bennett at Carnegie Hall - Tony Bennett

We are in Love - Harry Connick, Jr.

The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album & Together Again - Tony Bennett

The Cole Porter Songbook - Ella Fitzgerald

Blue Bossa - Ana Caram

Come Away with Me - Norah Jones

At Mister Kelly’s - Sarah Vaughan

Dinah Jams - Dinah Washington

Anita Sings the Most - Anita O’Day

Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim - Frank Sinatra

Lady in Satin - Billie Holiday

Lady Sings the Blues - Billie Holiday

Chet Baker Sings - Chet Baker

Songs for Swingin’ Lovers - Frank Sinatra

Hell, anything else by Ella or Nina or Billie! We should do a list of the best tracks by those three!


Thanks for the excellent list, I am a fan of vocal jazz and constantly looking for some good suggestions.

As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of vocal jazz, too! I’m not as familiar with June Christy and Susannah McCorkle. I will give them a listen!

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… and Bossa Nova!:sunglasses:


True! I can’t help it. It’s so much fun, and kinda vibrates in one’s soul a bit. Maybe I’m part Brazilian somewhere in my family history!

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I think Brazilian jazz is great! I also very much like Cuban jazz.

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Apart from the ones already mentioned by others, I also like the following:

Helen Merrill - Helen Merrill (the one featuring Clifford Brown)
John Coltrane - John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
Billie Holiday - The Quintessential Billie Holiday Volume 2 (I’m particularly fond of this one)
Morelenbaum / Sakamoto - Casa


I would add Sinatra At The Sands, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook, and Nina Simone’s Pastel Blues.


Any or all of the duets Ella recorded with Joe Pass, on the Pablo label.

Gregory Porter’s Take Me to the Alley

Travelling Miles by Cassandra Wilson.


Babs Gonzales. Sunday Afternoon
King Pleasure. Moody’s Mood
Andy Bey. Ballads and Blues
Eddie Jefferson. The Jazz Singer
Lambert Hendricks & Ross. Sing a Song a Basie.
Jimmy Rushing. Every day I have the blues


Jose James - The Dreamer
Helen Merrill - Music Makers
Abbey Lincoln - Abbey Is Blue
Blossom Dearie - Various
Stacey Kent - Breakfast on the Morning Train
Vanessa Rubin - Pastiche
& many more !


My favourite Ella, the soundtrack to Let No Man Write My Epitaph.
Perhaps in small quantities, anything by George Melly.
Listed under jazz in many lists, I would accept if you say it’s really blues, Mose Allison - Parchman Farm.
Too many recordings to pick anything particular, Cleo Laine and Ottilie Patterson?

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I am going with some instrumental suggestions of great playing and at least very good sound quality. My bias is the bop period and folks influenced by that music.

  1. Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section 1957
  2. Something Else, Cannonball Adderly 1958
  3. Way out west, Sonny Rollins 1957
  4. Horace Silver, Song For My Father 1965
  5. Lee Morgan, Sidewinder 1963
  6. Sonny Rollins, Saxophone Collossus 1957
  7. Duke Ellington, Far East Suite, 1967
  8. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, 1959
  9. Brad Mehldau, The Art of the Trio, vol. 1, 1997
  10. Buena Vista Social Club, 2008

The most purist form of jazz vocal has to be scat.


And the best performance of scat singing I have ever heard is on the Ella in Berlin album. “How High the Moon”. Unreal. Here is a link:

Also, I know I listed a couple of Ella albums above, but I would also say that in the 1990s Verve released a whole slew of “greatest hits” albums from her catalog under the album titles “The Best of the Songbooks”. There was one of “Ballads”, one of “Love Songs”, etc. Really a great introduction to her craft. Also notable are “The Ultimate Ella Fitzgerald” on Verve and “Pure Ella” on MCA.


Surprised that Cassandra Wilson isn’t getting more love here. She’s my go-to jazz vocalist. Joni’s later jazz influenced work also deserves a mention.

Less well-known but also awesome is Renee Geyer, a truly wonderful vocalist and interpreter of song, and an extraordinarily influential figure in the Australian music scene. Sadly passed a little while back.