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Ella Fitzgerald

Read "Ella Fitzgerald" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

This article was first published in June 2004.

Considered by many to be the 20th century's greatest female singer of jazz and American popular song, Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) is one of the few singers whose work transcends generations and musical genres. Fortunately, over the course of a career that spanned six decades, “The First ...

Vocal Jazz: 1969-2001

Read "Vocal Jazz: 1969-2001" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

The Dark Age followed by the Renaissance.

The tumultuous changes of the 1960s radically changed the American musical landscape. Jazz fell off the American cultural radar, nightclubs closed their doors and record companies moved on to rock. With few opportunities to work and little money to be made, jazz became a music played by ...

Vocal Jazz: 1917-1950

Read "Vocal Jazz: 1917-1950" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

There have been as many variations on the definition of vocal jazz as there have been people with opinions. Over the years, the consensus within the jazz community has shifted frequently as critics and fans have wrestled with the often-competing imperatives of improvisation and interpretation. For some people, vocal jazz should be exactly that -voices improvising ...

Vocal Jazz: 1951-1968

Read "Vocal Jazz: 1951-1968" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

These 17 years play out like the vocal jazz equivalent of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Much of the core body of work that makes up vocal jazz was recorded during this relatively short time span. These were the years that saw some of the greatest jazz singers working at the peak of ...

ARTICLE: PROFILES

Remembering Etta Jones

Read "Remembering Etta Jones" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

There always seemed to be something indestructible about Etta Jones. You could hear it best on up-tempo tunes when she would swing with a joyful abandon and an almost godlike authority. But even when she sang the most tragic and heart wrenching of ballads--and she sang more than her share of tragic, heart wrenching ballads--Jones conveyed ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Truth, Tradition & Karrin Allyson

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Honesty...

“That's the goal," explains jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson. “I think it's important to be honest when you're singing and playing and not to sound like someone else. We all have influences and people we love, but we are own people."

Nearly every aspiring jazz singer talks about finding his or her unique voice. However, by ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Diana Krall: Cool Jazz on a Hot Florida Night

Read "Diana Krall: Cool Jazz on a Hot Florida Night" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

Jazz critics have a tendency to recycle the same ideas over and over again regardless of whether any actual evidence exists to support their position. A favorite punching bag for decades has been the jazz artist “selling out" by leaving jazz to become “commercial." When Diana Krall's CDs began camping out at the top of the ...

Eva Cassidy: Live at Blues Alley

Read "Live at Blues Alley" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

When Eva Cassidy died of cancer on November 2, 1996, few people outside of the Washington D.C. area had heard of this shy, young singer/guitarist. Five years later, a posthumously released collection of Ms. Cassidy’s work has sold well over one million copies in Europe and the United States. The reason for Ms. Cassidy’s appeal is ...

Ann Hampton Callaway: Signature

Read "Signature" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

The gap between Barbra Streisand and Ella Fitzgerald is wide, a fact that Ann Hampton Callaway has no doubt discovered. Ms. Callaway began her career in the early 1980s as a rich-voiced, highly musical cabaret singer with a preference for intensely dramatic ballads. In the mid-90s, she changed directions and embraced vocal jazz. Although some of ...

Ramsey Lewis and Nancy Wilson: Meant To Be

Read "Meant To Be" reviewed by Mathew Bahl

The careers of singer Nancy Wilson and pianist Ramsey Lewis have followed parallel lines since the early 1960s. Although both began as jazz artists, they soon found greater fame and fortune in contemporary pop and have rarely looked back since. In 1982, Mr. Lewis and Ms. Wilson teamed up for a vapid, forgettable collection of smooth ...