Dee Dee Bridgewater

How cool is my kid, part 1,000. When we were driving from Austin to San Antonio a few years back, Daveon was fiddling around with Sirius radio, and stopped when he heard “If You Believe” from The Wiz (a family favorite). Turns out it was an hour-long interview/listening session with Dee Dee Bridgewater, who played Glinda on Broadway. He kept the station on for the entire show, with both of us learning a lot about Bridgewater and her music. That’s how cool he is.

Dee Dee Bridgewater AllMusic page

Cassandra Wilson

After releasing one of my favorite albums of the 90s, Cassandra Wilson promptly got boring. It’s not a good sign when your most interesting song from the last 20 years is a cover of the Monkees.

Cassandra Wilson AllMusic page


I hate vocalese.*

(*Exception: Lambert, Henrdricks, & Ross, who are so hilarious and awesome that they were covered by none other than Joni Mitchell.)

Vocalese AllMusic page

Shirley Horn

In the 80s, the Verve record label was revived, and in turn decided to revive the careers of some notable female jazz vocalists who had fallen into obscurity. Tops among them were Joe’s favorite Betty Carter, Abbey “You gotta pay the band, even if you spend most of your time yelling at them” Lincoln, and Ms. “Here’s to Life” herself, Shirley Horn.

Shirley Horn AllMusic page

Sarah Vaughan

On the list of “jazz stars I have killed,” Sarah Vaughan is #1 (i.e., I had tickets to see her, and she died a few days before the show—a phenomenon that has happened to me, and more unfortuately, to various jazz stars, more than once). She is also #1 on my list of “favorite jazz singers who actually sing the melody” (i.e., not Betty Carter).

Sarah Vaughan AllMusic page

Nina Simone

“Mississippi Goddam” gets my vote for greatest song of all time. Nina Simone also gets my vote for “person you would not want to cross.”

Nina Simone AllMusic page

Little Jimmy Scott

See Fats Waller, swap in “Little Jimmy Scott” for “Fats Waller,” and swap in “little” for “fat.”

Little Jimmy Scott AllMusic page

Jazz Broads

Believe it or not, “broad” is not a term I toss around very often. But I fully believe (because I like to make things up) that if you asked Anita O’Day or Peggy Lee to describe their musical style, they would say, “Me? I’m a jazz broad!” And if I’m wrong, I’m sure their ghosts will come down right away and set me straight. Jazz broads don’t play.

Vocal Jazz AllMusic page

Frank Sinatra

I originally wasn’t going to do a Sinatra post—sorry, I just don’t “get” him—but enough people whose musical tastes I respect said, “Dude, you really need to do a Sinatra post.” Plus, I was afraid his ghost might find out and send some cronies to tie me up and toss me in the Bay (I can make that joke if I’m Italian, right?).

Frank Sinatra AllMusic page

Ella Fitzgerald

For someone who is considered the greatest female popular singer of all time, you think you might have a more impressive theme song than “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” Just saying.

Ella Fitzgerald AllMusic page