Famous American Jazz Singers

Do you know what’s common between Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, George Benson and Norah Jones? Apart from the fact that they all are iconic American musicians, they belong to the genre of jazz music. An indigenous art form, jazz music came into prominence during the early twentieth century. An extension of American style and attitude, the music type soon found itself everywhere, from the bustling nightclubs to the lonely sidewalks, the serious classrooms and the funny television and radio shows. And to top it all, it has since then become a reflection of American culture. Quite amazing isn’t it, for an art form to not just emerge but become a cultural phenomenon! Symbolic of the cultural tiffs between the conservationists and modernists, much of its grandeur and magnificence rests on supremely talented jazz singers who glorified the genre to be what it is today. American jazz singers have made immeasurable contribution to the American music. With their distinctive voice and creative innovations, they have helped jazz to become a musical point baton that it is today. Breeze through this section and know about the life and music of iconic American jazz singers.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra.
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Famous As: Singer and Actor
Birthdate: December 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hoboken, New Jersey, United States
Died: May 14, 1998

Amongst the most popular singers of the 20th century and one of the bestselling artists of all time, Frank Sinatra began his musical career singing with bands and later established his successful solo career with albums like The Voice of Frank Sinatra. Also an award winning actor, he featured in movies like From Here to Eternity and The Manchurian Candidate.

 2 Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 13, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States

American singer and songwriter, Stevie Wonder, is one of most influential and the best-selling musicians of all time. That Girl, Gotta Have You, I Just Called to Say I Love You, Part-Time Lover and Happy Birthday are some of his chartbuster songs. He has won many awards and accolades, including 25 Grammy Awards.

 3 Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper.
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Famous As: Actress, Singer
Birthdate: June 22, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City

Cyndi Lauper is an American singer-songwriter, activist, and actress. Apart from her distinctive appearance, Lauper is also known for her achievements; having won three of the four major entertainment awards (Grammy, Emmy, Tony), she is consistently named in lists like 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. Cyndi Lauper is also celebrated for her humanitarian work and charitable efforts.

 4 Leslie Odom Jr.

Leslie Odom Jr..
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 6, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Queens, New York City, New York

A passion for acting and singing since his early life, made Leslie Odom Jr an accomplished artist of stage, television, films and music industry. Debuting at the age of seventeen, his best performance came with the role of Aaron Burr in Broadway musical Hamilton. The talented artist also has three solo jazz albums and a published book in his resume.

 5 Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole.
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Famous As: Vocalist, Pianist
Birthdate: March 17, 1919
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Died: February 15, 1965
Jazz pianist/singer Nat King Cole, father of singer Natalie Cole, is best remembered for tracks such as Too Young and Mona Lisa. His last album, L-O-V-E, was recorded while he battled lung cancer. With The Nat King Cole Show, he became the first African-American to host his own show.

 6 Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald.
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Famous As: Jazz Singer
Birthdate: April 25, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Newport News, Virginia, United States
Died: June 15, 1996

Ella Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer. Referred to as the Queen of Jazz, First Lady of Song, and Lady Ella, Fitzgerald was renowned for her impeccable diction, purity of tone, timing, and intonation. The winner of Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts, Fitzgerald's legacy lives on several years after her death.

 7 Cybill Lynne Shepherd

Cybill Lynne Shepherd.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Cybill Shepherd is best known for her roles in films such as The Heartbreak Kid, Taxi Driver, and Alice. Fans also loved her for her Golden Globe-winning portrayals of Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes in the series Moonlighting and Cybill Sheridan in the sitcom Cybill. She is a follower of goddess-worshipping Paganism.
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 8 Harry Connick Jr.

Harry Connick Jr..
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Famous As: American singer
Birthdate: September 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Grammy-winning singer-actor Harry Connick Jr. was born to a lawyer mother and an attorney father, who also owned a record store. He mastered the piano as a child and formed his first jazz band at 10. He later soared to fame with the multi-platinum soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally...

 9 Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: North, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt was an American actress, comedian, dancer, and singer-songwriter. Renowned for her distinctive singing style, Kitt recorded several chartbusting songs during the 1950s. Also a well-known activist, Eartha Kitt established a non-profit organization called the Kittsville Youth Foundation, which helped underprivileged youths in Los Angeles. She was also an ardent advocate for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

 10 Lena Horne

Lena Horne.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bedford-Stuyvesant
Died: May 9, 2010

Lena Horne was an American singer, actress, dancer, and civil rights activist. Horne's 70-year acting career was embellished with several prestigious awards, such as Grammy Awards. Her life and career were depicted in many stage shows, where she was portrayed by actresses like Leslie Uggams, Nikki Crawford, and Ryan Jillian.

 11 Gary Burghoff

Gary Burghoff.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 24, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bristol, Connecticut

Gary Burghoff is an American actor who is credited with originating the popular role of Charlie Brown in the 1967 Broadway musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He is also known for originating the role of Walter Eugene O'Reilly in the 1970 black comedy war movie MASH and the popular TV series of the same name.

 12 Chet Baker

Chet Baker.
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Famous As: Jazz Trumpeter
Birthdate: December 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yale, Oklahoma
Died: May 13, 1988

Chet Baker was an American vocalist and jazz trumpeter. He achieved recognition during the 1950s and his innovations within cool jazz, a style of modern jazz music, earned him the nickname prince of cool. However, his drug addiction overshadowed much of his professional achievements. His life and work inspired the 2015 drama film Born to Be Blue.

 13 Johnny Mathis

Johnny Mathis
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 30, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gilmer, Texas, United States

Johnny Mathis is an American singer and songwriter. Best known for his contribution to popular music, Mathis has been honored with many awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award. Johnny Mathis is also renowned for his philanthropic efforts; he has supported such organizations as the American Cancer Society and Muscular Dystrophy Association.

 14 Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 15, 1894
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chattanooga
Died: September 26, 1937

Bessie Smith was an American singer who gained popularity during the Jazz Age. Dubbed the Empress of the Blues, Smith was one of the most famous blues singers of the 1920s and 1930s. Counted among the greatest singers of her generation, Bessie Smith was a major influence on several other singers. Her life and work inspired the TV film Bessie.

 15 Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz.
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Famous As: Singer and Musician
Birthdate: June 23, 1977
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mechanicsville, Virginia, U.S.
Guitarist and singer Jason Mraz is known for his Billboard-charting tracks such as The Remedy (I Won't Worry) and I'm Yours. The two-time Grammy-winning artist is highly influenced by Brazilian music. He has launched The Jason Mraz Foundation and is associated with causes such as human rights and LGBT equality.

 16 Della Reese

Della Reese.
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Famous As: Singer, Actress
Birthdate: July 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Black Bottom, Detroit
Died: November 19, 2017
Jazz and gospel singer and actor Della Reese, who was also an ordained minister, gained fame with tracks such as Don't You Know? and Some of her best-known films were Harlem Nights and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. She played Tess in the series Touched by an Angel

 17 Boz Scaggs

Boz Scaggs
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: June 8, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio, USA

 18 Macy Gray

Macy Gray
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 6, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio, United States

 19 Gwen Verdon

Gwen Verdon.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 13, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Culver City, California, United States
Died: October 18, 2000

Four-time Tony-winning actor Gwen Verdon is remembered for her SAG-nominated performance in Marvin’s Room. She was known for her signature red hair and her love for cats. She was nominated for Emmys for the series Magnum, P.I., Dream On, and Homicide: Life on the Street. She inspired the series Fosse/Verdon.

 20 Sunny Ozell

Sunny Ozell
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: December 23, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Reno, Nevada, U.S.

 21 Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 25, 1907
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rochester
Died: November 18, 1994

Jazz singer and dancer, Cab Calloway, was a famous vocalist of the swing era.  From the early 1930s to the late 1940s, he led a very popular band that included musicians like  Dizzy Gillespie, Jonah Jones, and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham. A man of color, he became the first African-American musician to sell a million records from a single song.

 22 Linda Purl

Linda Purl
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 2, 1955
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greenwich, Connecticut, USA

 23 Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 19, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Port Arthur, Texas, United States
Died: October 4, 1970

Best known for her powerful mezzo-soprano voice, Janis Joplin was one of the most successful rock stars of her era. Before dying at the age of 27, she achieved so much that Rolling Stone magazine included her in its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list in 2004 and 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2008.

 24 Nina Simone

Nina Simone.
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer
Birthdate: February 21, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tryon
Died: April 21, 2003

Widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Nina Simone was a pioneering recording artist whose career was characterized by improvisational genius and fits of outrage. Nina continues to be an important musician and has influenced several artists like Elton John, Adele, David Bowie, Madonna, and Aretha Franklin. She was also a civil rights activist.

 25 Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack.
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Famous As: Singer, Pianist
Birthdate: February 10, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Black Mountain, North Carolina

 26 Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 4, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Died: June 27, 2014

Bobby Womack began his career with his family band The Valentinos, after gaining a record deal with The Soul Stirrers singer Sam Cooke. He later began a solo career and became famous for tracks such as Lookin’ for a Love. He also contributed to the soundtrack of Across 110th Street.

 27 Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: March 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 12, 2017

 28 Leslie Uggams

Leslie Uggams.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States

 29 Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cotton Plant, Arkansas, USA
Died: October 9, 1973

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was an American recording artist, guitarist, and singer-songwriter. Characterized by a mixture of electric guitar and spiritual lyrics, Tharpe's music played an influential role in the development of rock and roll. Her music influenced several rock-and-roll musicians like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Chuck Berry. She is often referred to as the Godmother of rock and roll.

 30 Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 26, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jamestown, North Dakota, United States
Died: January 21, 2002

 31 Steve Lawrence

Steve Lawrence.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 8, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York

 32 Pat Metheny

Pat Metheny.
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Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: August 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lee's Summit

 33 Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 27, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 3, 1990

 34 Phyllis Hyman

Phyllis Hyman
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: July 6, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: June 30, 1995

 35 Polly Bergen

Polly Bergen.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 14, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Knoxville, Tennessee
Died: September 20, 2014

 36 Laura Nyro

Laura Nyro
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Famous As: Songwriter
Birthdate: October 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, USA
Died: April 8, 1997

 37 Jack Jones

Jack Jones.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hollywood, California, United States

 38 Dinah Washington

Dinah Washington
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 29, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Died: December 14, 1963

 39 Patty Andrews

Patty Andrews
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: February 16, 1918
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mound, Minnesota, United States
Died: January 13, 2013

 40 Deana Martin

Deana Martin
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 41 Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee Jones
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA

 42 Kate Smith

Kate Smith
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 1, 1907
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Greenville, Virginia, USA
Died: June 17, 1986

 43 Al Martino

Al Martino
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 7, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: October 13, 2009

 44 Marc Nelson

Marc Nelson
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 23, 1971
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

 45 Frankie Laine

Frankie Laine
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 30, 1913
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: February 6, 2007

 46 Roy Ayers

Roy Ayers
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 10, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
One of the greatest vibraphone players of all time, Roy Ayers was a pioneer of jazz-funk and acid jazz. Born to a trombone player father and a pianist mother, he was destined to be a musician. He soared to fame with tracks such as Everybody Loves the Sunshine.

 47 Al Di Meola

Al Di Meola
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Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: July 22, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey, United States

 48 Valarie Pettiford

Valarie Pettiford
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 8, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Queens, New York, USA

 49 James Shigeta

James Shigeta
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Famous As: Actor and singer
Birthdate: June 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Died: July 28, 2014

 50 Jo Stafford

Jo Stafford.
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 12, 1917
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Coalinga, California, United States
Died: July 16, 2008