Famous Black 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 Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder
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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.

 2 Sade Adu

Sade Adu
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Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: January 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ibadan, Nigeria

Nigerian-British singer Helen Folasade Adu, or Sade Adu, often blends Afro-Cuban tunes with soul and smooth jazz in her music. The Grammy Award winner had initially studied fashion designing and been a model. The founder of the band Sade, she has released iconic tracks such as No Ordinary Love.

 3 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.

 4 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.

 5 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.

 6 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.

 7 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
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 8 Macy Gray

Macy Gray
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: September 6, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio, United States

 9 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.

 10 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.

 11 Leslie Uggams

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

 12 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

 13 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.

 14 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

 15 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

 16 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.

 17 Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 12, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S.
Died: November 17, 2006

 18 Billy Eckstine

Billy Eckstine
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: July 8, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: East Liberty, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 8, 1993

 19 Big Joe Turner

Big Joe Turner
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 18, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Died: November 24, 1985

 20 Jimmy Scott

Jimmy Scott
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Famous As: Vocalist
Birthdate: July 17, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Died: June 12, 2014

 21 Concha Buika

Concha Buika
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 11, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Palma, Spain

Concha Buika is a Spanish singer who has been active in the music industry for two decades. She is the daughter of writer Juan Balboa. As a singer and composer, she derives inspiration from a wide range of genres including jazz, flamenco, pop, soul, and African polyrhythm. She is internationally famous and has performed in US, Europe, and Latin America. 

 22 Thelma Carpenter

Thelma Carpenter
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 15, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: May 14, 1997

 23 Barbara Hendricks

Barbara Hendricks
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: November 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Stephens, Arkansas, United States

 24 China Moses

China Moses
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 9, 1978
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 25 Doc Cheatham

Doc Cheatham
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Famous As: Jazz Trumpeter
Birthdate: June 13, 1905
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Died: June 2, 1997

 26 Gloria Lynne

Gloria Lynne
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Famous As: Vocalist
Birthdate: November 23, 1929
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: October 15, 2013

 27 Dorothy Masuka

Dorothy Masuka
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 3, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Died: February 23, 2019

Dorothy Masuka was a jazz singer whose music gained popularity in South Africa during the 1950s. Masuka's music had a strong influence on the people of South Africa, so much so that the government banned her song Dr. Malan which was about difficult laws in the country. She was exiled in 1961 when she performed a song for Patrice Lumumba.

 28 Rockin' Dopsie

Rockin' Dopsie
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Famous As: Accordion Player, Singer
Birthdate: February 10, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Carencro, Louisiana, United States
Died: August 26, 1993

 29 Prince Kudakwashe Musarurwa

Prince Kudakwashe Musarurwa
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 5, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Zimbabwe
Died: February 15, 2020

 30 Ray Phiri

Ray Phiri
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Famous As: Jazz musician
Birthdate: March 23, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nelspruit, South Africa
Died: July 12, 2017