Ya like jazz? Yes? Well who comes to mind when you think about the smooth tones that characterized the 40s and 50s? Is it Louis Armstrong? Or maybe Frank Sinatra and Louis Prima. While all of these men were incredible singers, more often than not they outshined a whole group of female jazz artists that were just as good, if not better.
One of my favorite artists, Billie Holiday, dominated the charts back in the day. She rose to fame in a time following the Great Depression, with a new flavor of music that became known as “swing.” With songs like I’ll Be Seeing You and Easy Living she quickly made a name for herself. Her music also incorporated a strong element of the civil rights movement, with Strange Fruit serving as an emotional depiction of the effects of racism.
Another notable singer from the time was Ella Fitzgerald, who popularized scat singing through songs such as Dream a Little Dream of Me and A-Tisket, A-Tasket. Perhaps one of the biggest women in music at the time, she was also popular on the big screen, with a role in Pete Kelley’s Blues and making guest appearances on TV shows such as The Frank Sinatra and The Ed Sullivan Show.
One last artist I’d like to point out is Dinah Shore. Her melodic voice fits perfectly with the instrumental background and perfectly characterizes the aged feeling that comes from listening to this genre of music.
Each song by these artists tells a story. Some tell stories of injustice, some of hardships, and some of love. But these stories are what helped women gain a foothold in the music industry and will forever be timeless on any jazz playlist.
Hope you guys enjoy the music,