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Female jazz singers?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Axtman, Mar 7, 2019.

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  1. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    I know this post will probably tick off a few people....yeah like that is something new. ;-)

    What is with all these middle-aged women that want to sing jazz? Is it the equivalent of a middle-aged man buying a sports car?
    oZZma and Groove Doctor like this.
  2. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Q: How many girl singers does it take to sing "Summertime"?
    A: All of them.

    Seriously, though, there's a gene that codes for wanting to be a torch song diva. It generally doesn't express until middle age. Maybe it's helped along by listening to the late-life rockers turned would-be jazz singer/crooner. Some are horrendous; some are quite wonderful. My favourite is perhaps an unlikely one:


    I remember, some years ago, when I was playing in a small house jazz band at a restaurant and one of the co-owners came up to the bandstand and said, "My wife would like to sing with the band. Is that OK?" I'm thinking, "Oh, crap...here we go..." Well, she was solidly middle-aged and inexperienced, but oh my what a voice. She became the singer for the band, and we went on to play maybe another 6 years at the restaurant with her fronting the act and a dedicated following. You never know, really.
  3. .... and why do they like to make every song sound sooo schmaltzy??
  4. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    My turn:
    Female jazz singer calls "Misty"
    (Bass player) "That's cool. Let's start will an atonal intro, then do the A section 3 times, modulate the bridge a half step, then do the last A section in an open time signature
    (Female jazz singer) "I can't do that!"
    (Bass player) "You did last night!"...........:bored:
    Paulabass, Nashrakh, rknea and 4 others like this.
  5. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Not true! Only one third of them!

    One third are down the street singing "My Funny Valentine" and the rest are down the other street singing "At Last".
  6. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    My theory is that as women age the feel they lose there attractiveness to men. (Hey I find some older women to be really sexy.) They then adopt a torch singer (Jessica Rabbit) fantasy in order to retrieve some of the desirability of their youth.

    There. I said it. Flame away! ;-)
    Scottgun likes this.
  7. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    Another observation is how fiercely competitive (and sometimes petty) I find female jazz singers. They view other female jazz singers as a threat.

    This is just the opposite of bass players. I have found many bass players to be very helpful and encouraging. I have never found other bass players to threatened by me.
  8. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    So true. I think we genuinely enjoy each others company and are kindred spirits rather than competitors.
  9. ...and why must they always have a drink in their hand when they sing in public?...
  10. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  11. Hmmm, to be fair, some of them have been singing jazz and other genre in front of people since they were 12. My wife has, and still does a decent job at it at 65.

    When you approach a woman to ask about this, probably the best phrasing would be "How long have you been singing?"

    Also, remember that the body typically ages much more quickly than the mind does.
    Mark Ambler and gerry grable like this.
  12. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    My friend recommended that I ask the singers, "What other jazz jams have you been singing at?" If they list off a half a dozen then I will know that they are pretty competent. If they hem and haw or say "none" then I will be prepared for a possible trainwreck.
  13. mooseonbass

    mooseonbass Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2011
    Really? Would you even consider asking this of a young guy with a bass? How about asking what key she wants to play it and if she has charts? I've always been to jam sessions where the singers all know each other and have drinks together after they sing. You don't need the Spanish inquisition to figure out if someone is prepared. And don't forget, we all had a first jam session. I'm in a house band for a monthly jam and the worst experiences I've had are with players that go to jams a couple of days a week and annoy the rosin out of host bands all over town.
  14. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    At the jazz jam I participate in, the host talks to the singers and instrumentalists before hand about what songs they want to do, what key and if they brought charts for the band. The advertisement says to bring 6 charts and to know what key they sing/play. We all have Fake Books and iRealPro on our iPads/iPhones so we can call up jazz standards.

    Inexperienced singers/players are encouraged to participate. The host runs interference and only discourages singer/players if they want to do a non-jazz standard tune. We once had a lady show up with six copies....of piano score, stapled together, for a song that nobody in the band knew. Yeah it did no go well.

    The host is pretty good about sussing out singers/players that will require a lot of assistance to get through a song. We help them with tempos, song form, and clue them when to come in. It works well and we adapt to on the fly changes (singer comes in early).
    marcox likes this.
  15. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    If I was going to pick: Middle age female jazz singer > Middle aged Ron Jeremy look-alike that tries to play guitar like SRV & Clapton.
    There are just as many of each and the ladies are ahead on this one.
  16. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Talkbass - "Come for the Strings...Stay for the Misogyny!"
  17. Speak for yourself! My mind is very, very old (and always has been). Much older than my body.
  18. I might just be lucky, but most middle aged women I have heard were singing like hell. I often don't remember their looks, but their voice can stick with me for months. Young girls it's often other way around.
    I'm slowly getting used to think that the ugliest middle aged desperate on the stage usually tends to be myself. But then I look around the stage ... okay. Signing off :)
  19. rknea


    Jan 16, 2007
    Boise, ID
    Such a highly entertaining thread here!! As for my wife, she went to college and had years of professional voice training along the way. She had to work as a teacher while raising 4 kids, then had to go through a nasty divorce. She had several opportunities to go to Nashville and record but had to pass them by because her ex-husband was such a pansy and couldn't take care of things at home. Now the kids are all grown, she divorced the loser, and we were married 10 years ago. Thanks to my full time job she doesn't have to work and can fulfill her life-long dream of not only singing in a Big Band, but having a jazz combo with steady gigs and has recorded some background vocal tracks in Nashville.
    The Biz and Who da Ville like this.
  20. MLysh


    Oct 11, 2007
    So...............How about that Gary Peacock fella dissin' Elvis Costello...wonder if he's still using weichs?
    Michael Case likes this.

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