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Jazz singer-guitarists

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Peter McFerrin, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. There have been tons and tons of jazz singers who accompany themselves on piano. However, I can't think of any singer/guitarists who are involved in jazz, other than George Benson (whose vocal career has largely been R&B-oriented anyway). Are there any jazz singers who play guitar and do so in a solo or small-group context? I can't think of any off the top of my head. I guess maybe Brian Setzer might fit into this category, but he's a stretch.
  2. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    john pizzarelli
  3. Ah, there's one. Did his father Bucky sing, too?
  4. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    good question. i cant answer it. im not all that familiar with either. most of the time i try and walk in the other direction when i see a jazz singer:D
  5. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Can you think of any drummers that also sang? Double Bassists? I can think of a few electric bassists (clarke, jaco, bona, bakithi kumalo...) I can think of quite a few trumpet players. But for the most part, it seems that instrumentalists generally didn't sing on recordings and singers didn't play instruments on recordings in the jazz genre.
  6. Yeah, I've heard some pretty awful excuses for jazz vocalists in my brief tenure on this planet.

    I've just been thinking of things I could do musically that wouldn't require a band context (which bass playing generally does, unfortunately :( ) and since playing complex guitar chords and singing hasn't proven to be that much of a problem for me, the possibility of being a solo jazz singer/guitarist is kinda attractive to me.
  7. The obvious exceptions are people like Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Diana Krall, Mose Allison, and Harry Connick Jr., but they're all pianists. Certainly, it's easier to write jazz material (if you want to write at all, which I do) on piano than on guitar, and even Pat Metheny has said that he can comp better on piano than guitar. Both of these factors conspire against jazz guitarists being singers as well.

    Now that I think about it, Slim Gaillard was a bebop singer-guitarist. He was pretty famous in his day, too. I don't think he had many emulators, though.

    EDIT: João Gilberto has had himself a nice career singing jazz and playing guitar, albeit at rather low volumes. ;)
  8. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    that sounds cool. there should be some time later for bass if you want. personally playing guitar helped my writing tremendously. if i wouldnt have taken up guitar i might not have the material and group i have now.

    do you plan on working out straight ahead stuff? original or standards?
  9. I'd like to have a 50/50 mixture of standards and originals.

    I really need to work on my guitar chops, though. I figure I'll spend 30-45 minutes/day practicing guitar and 30-45 minutes a day on keeping my bass chops in shape.
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Well, I can't think of any off hand, but anytime jazz singing and guitar are brought up, one should mention Tuck and Patti.

    As far as double bassist/singers go, you've got to hear Kristen Korb - walks like Ray, scats like Ella!
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well - there are large numbers of Brazilian singer/guitarists, who are very much influenced by Jazz - but their recordings just don't get exported.

    Caetano Veloso is probably the most famous along with Gilberto Gil - Veloso is a pretty good Jazz guitarist and a great composer - his music is very diverse, but has a definite Jazz influence.

    I share some of others' misgivings about Jazz singers and have heard a lot of cringe-inducing moments - but Brazilians seem to have this tradition of music which is less inhibited and very "cool" - I have lots of CDs of Jazzy Brazilian vocal/guitar music and everybody seems to like it - but play CDs of any US/UK Jazz singers and people are grimacing straight away! ;)
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yeah - go the Brazilian route - I know several guitarists who nake money playing in various venues - playing sets of bossa novas, etc.

    Get a Jobim songbook and go through them - there are many books which describe the guitar style and there are some really nice tunes which suit jazzy guitar accompaniment!

    Start here :

  13. Awesome, Bruce. I'm gonna have to teach myself how to fingerpick (I can only play guitar with a flatpick or playing all downstrokes with my thumb), but that seems like it'd be a fun thing to work on.

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