The jazz genre has produced countless legendary vocalists, both male and female, but the question of who is the best female jazz singer is subjective and dependent on personal taste. However, there are several vocalists who are widely regarded as some of the greatest female jazz singers of all time.
One of the most influential and revered female jazz singers is Billie Holiday, also known as "Lady Day". She was born in 1915 in Philadelphia and rose to fame in the 1930s with her unique style, characterized by her emotive phrasing and deep, soulful voice. Her rendition of "Strange Fruit" is considered one of the greatest protest songs of all time and her body of work continues to inspire new generations of jazz singers.
Another highly regarded female jazz singer is Ella Fitzgerald, known as the "First Lady of Song". Born in 1917 in Newport News, Virginia, she rose to prominence in the 1930s and 1940s and was renowned for her virtuosic scat singing and her ability to effortlessly interpret a wide range of songs. Fitzgerald won 13 Grammy Awards during her career and her impact on the jazz genre cannot be overstated.
Sarah Vaughan, born in 1924 in Newark, New Jersey, is also considered one of the greatest female jazz singers of all time. She was known for her powerful voice, which had a wide range and her ability to effortlessly navigate complex harmonies. Vaughan won four Grammy Awards during her career and her impact on the jazz genre continues to be felt today.
These three vocalists are often cited as some of the greatest female jazz singers of all time, but there are many other talented vocalists who have made significant contributions to the genre. Some of these include Nina Simone, Peggy Lee, and Carmen McRae, among others.
In conclusion, the question of who is the best female jazz singer is subjective and open to interpretation. However, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan are widely regarded as three of the greatest female jazz singers of all time, and their impact on the genre continues to be felt today.
Source: "The History of Jazz Music" by Brian Horner (2022)