Famous American Jazz Singers

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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.
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 1 
Stevie Wonder
(Singer-Songwriter and Musician)
Stevie Wonder
8
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.

 2 
Billie Holiday
(One of the Greatest Jazz Singers from the 1930s to the 1950s)
Billie Holiday
4
Birthdate: April 7, 1915
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 17, 1959
Jazz legend Billie Holiday had a tumultuous childhood and ended up in prison due to prostitution. Upon her release, at 14, she started singing using her pseudonym and performed at sold-out Carnegie Hall shows. Nicknamed Lady Day, she was riddled with alcohol and drug issues. She won four posthumous Grammys.
 3 
Leslie Odom Jr.
4
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.

 4 
Ella Fitzgerald
(Jazz Singer Who was Noted for Her Purity of Tone and Impeccable Diction)
Ella Fitzgerald
8
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.

 5 
Bobby Darin
(Pop vocalist who released the hits "Mack the Knife," "Dream Lover," and "Beyond the Sea.")
Bobby Darin
6
Birthdate: May 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: East Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 20, 1973
 6 
Norah Jones
(One of the Best-Selling Jazz Artists & Daughter of Indian Sitarist and Composer Ravi Shankar)
Norah Jones
4
Birthdate: March 30, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

Norah Jones is an American singer, pianist, and songwriter. Having sold over 50 million records worldwide, Jones is one of the most successful and best-selling singers of her generation. She was ranked 60th on the artists of the 2000s decade list published by Billboard magazine. Norah Jones has won several prestigious awards including multiple Grammy Awards and Billboard Music Awards.

 7 
Harry Connick Jr.
(American singer)
Harry Connick Jr.
4
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...

 8 
Johnny Mathis
(American Jazz and Pop Singer Best Known for His Hit 'Chances Are')
Johnny Mathis
8
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.

 9 
Bessie Smith
(One of the Greatest Female Blues Singers of the 1930s)
Bessie Smith
5
Birthdate: April 15, 1894
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
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.

 10 
Boz Scaggs
(Singer)
Boz Scaggs
3
Birthdate: June 8, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio, USA
 11 
Cab Calloway
(Singer)
Cab Calloway
3
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.

 12 
Della Reese
(Known for Her 1959 Hit Single 'Don't You Know?' and Her Role in the TV Series 'Touched by an Angel')
Della Reese
5
Birthdate: July 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Black Bottom, Detroit, United States
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
 13 
Macy Gray
(Singer-songwriter)
Macy Gray
7
Birthdate: September 6, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio, United States
 14 
Linda Purl
(Actress)
Linda Purl
3
Birthdate: September 2, 1955
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
 15 
Roberta Flack
3
Birthdate: February 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Black Mountain, North Carolina, United States
 16 
Peggy Lee
(Singer)
Peggy Lee
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jamestown, North Dakota, United States
Died: January 21, 2002
 17 
Robert Davi
(Actor and Singer)
Robert Davi
4
Birthdate: June 26, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, United States
Robert Davi is best known as Jake Fratelli from The Goonies, Johnson from Die Hard, and Franz Sanchez from Licence to Kill. He also appeared as Bailey Malone in the series Profiler. A trained classical singer, he has released a Billboard-charting jazz album. He has also been a radio host.
 18 
Al Jarreau
(Musician)
Al Jarreau
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 12, 2017
 19 
Sunny Ozell
(Singer-Songwriter)
Sunny Ozell
3
Birthdate: December 23, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Reno, Nevada, U.S.
 20 
Louis Prima
(Singer-songwriter)
Louis Prima
3
Birthdate: December 7, 1910
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: August 24, 1978
 21 
Rachael MacFarlane
(Voice actress who became known for her voice work on shows like Codename: Kids Next Door, Family Guy, and American Dad)
Rachael MacFarlane
3
Birthdate: March 21, 1976
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kent, Connecticut, United States
 22 
Patty Andrews
3
Birthdate: February 16, 1918
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mound, Minnesota, United States
Died: January 13, 2013
 23 
Pat Metheny
(Guitarist)
Pat Metheny
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lee's Summit
 24 
Laura Nyro
(Songwriter)
Laura Nyro
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, USA
Died: April 8, 1997
 25 
Nina Simone
(One of the Most Influential Musical Artists of the 20th Century)
Nina Simone
0
Birthdate: February 21, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tryon, North Carolina, United States
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.

 26 
Phyllis Hyman
3
Birthdate: July 6, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: June 30, 1995
 27 
Nancy Wilson
(Notable for Her Single ‘(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am')
Nancy Wilson
3
Birthdate: February 20, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chillicothe, Ohio, United States
Died: December 13, 2018
 28 
Sarah Vaughan
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 3, 1990
 29 
Deana Martin
(Singer)
Deana Martin
3
Birthdate: August 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
 30 
Rickie Lee Jones
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
 31 
Dinah Washington
5
Birthdate: August 29, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Died: December 14, 1963
 32 
Kate Smith
(Singer)
Kate Smith
3
Birthdate: May 1, 1907
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Greenville, Virginia, USA
Died: June 17, 1986
 33 
Leon Redbone
(Former singer-songwriter and musician best recognized for his songs "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" and "Ain't Misbehaving".)
Leon Redbone
3
Birthdate: August 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cyprus
Died: May 30, 2019
 34 
Jack Jones
(Singer)
Jack Jones
3
Birthdate: January 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
 35 
Al Martino
(Singer)
Al Martino
3
Birthdate: October 7, 1927
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: October 13, 2009
 36 
Frankie Laine
3
Birthdate: March 30, 1913
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: February 6, 2007
 37 
Al Di Meola
(Guitarist)
Al Di Meola
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
 38 
Olu Dara
(cornetist)
Olu Dara
3
Birthdate: January 12, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Natchez, Mississippi, USA
 39 
Roy Ayers
(Jazz Composer Best Known for His Compositions: 'Everybody Loves the Sunshine' and 'Searchin')
Roy Ayers
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
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.
 40 
Celeste
(Singer)
Celeste
3
Birthdate: May 5, 1994
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Celeste is an American-British singer-songwriter who became the fifth artist to win the Rising Star Award and top the BBC's Sound of poll in the same year in 2019. Considered one of the finest singers of her generation, Celeste is also admired for her fashion sense. In 2020, she was featured in one of the Top 10 lists by Elle.

 41 
Marc Nelson
(Singer)
Marc Nelson
3
Birthdate: January 23, 1971
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
 42 
Valarie Pettiford
2
Birthdate: July 8, 1960
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Queens, New York, USA
 43 
Meshell Ndegeocello
(Singer-songwriter)
Meshell Ndegeocello
2
Birthdate: August 29, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
 44 
Keely Smith
(Jazz Singer Who Released Hits Like ‘That Old Black Magic’ and ‘I Wish You Love’)
Keely Smith
3
Birthdate: March 9, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Died: December 16, 2017
 45 
James Shigeta
(Actor and singer)
James Shigeta
2
Birthdate: June 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Died: July 28, 2014
 46 
Bob Crosby
(Singer)
Bob Crosby
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1913
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Spokane, Washington, United States
Died: March 9, 1993
 47 
Phoebe Snow
(Singer-songwriter)
Phoebe Snow
2
Birthdate: July 17, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, U.S.
Died: April 26, 2011
 48 
Hazel Scott
(Jazz Pianist)
Hazel Scott
2
Birthdate: June 11, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Port au Spain, Trinidad
Died: October 2, 1981
 49 
Renee Olstead
(Actress)
Renee Olstead
3
Birthdate: June 18, 1989
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Houston, Texas U.S.
 50 
Sophie Tucker
2
Birthdate: January 13, 1886
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tul'chyn, Ukraine
Died: February 9, 1966