Who are the best Jazz Vocalists under the age of 40?

Male or female, singing old standards or singing newer jazz compositions, fronting jazz orchestras or fronting small combo pieces . . .

Who are the best Jazz Vocalists under the age of 40?
BONUS POINTS for any who are under the age of 30.

If at all possible, I’ll ask that you suggest artists for whom you can provide links that I can listen to (who at least artists whose work I’ll be able to find online with a simple search). Any suggestions of “There’s this guy who sings at my local bar on Thursday nights and he’s PHENOMENAL!” may be interesting but I’d have no way to follow up on the suggestion.


Jaimee Paul seems to fit the bill. You can find examples of her stuff on Amazon.

Esperanza Spaulding is very successful at age 30. I’m not all that fond of her singing, however.

How about Imelda May? (she just squeaks in…she’ll be 40 in July)

Have a listen to Kalimba.


Cecile McLorin Salvant at age 23 is already being compared to Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. She’s opening for Buster Williams at the Portland Jazz Festival and we have tickets! Here’s a YouTube tune.

That’s who I came in to mention. Though I am kind of partial to her singing (think quiet Stevie Wonder mixed with Wayne Shorter), I like her bass playing even more. I first started seeing her in bass ads, but didn’t hear her until I caught her performance of Radio Music Society on Austin City Limits.

I was sold. She doesn’t have a particularly impressive set of pipes - you’re not going to be blown away by her power and range. But she has an excellent ear and a mind for music. Radio Song does a good job of showing off her talented ear and (I think) complex musical ideas.

However, she’s not the best songwriter to ever grace us. On the other hand, she knows how to work memorable refrains into her songs better than most jazz songwriters. On the third hand, I think that modern jazz players don’t think about writing songs much. Considering that, I think she does pretty well at it.
Full disclosure: I’m somewhere above a jazz neophyte. My jazz collection isn’t huge, but it exists, and I listen to two radio stations with non-light jazz shows. I rarely like vocal jazz, and like lots of instrumental jazz.

Meschiya Lake out of New Orleans. I don’t know if she’ll ever reach the national stage, but if you’re ever down there do yourself a favor and find out where she’s performing.

Here she is singing Back Water Blues with Tom McDermott on piano.

Under 40? Crap, that leaves me out. :wink:

But seriously: check out Lena Seikaly. She’s something like 25-26 years old, and is a ridiculously talented singer/educator/songwriter. She’s also a really great person, and despite her youth she has become something of a jazz mentor to me.

Cyrille Aimee is a contender; she turns 30 later this year.
Melody Gardot just turned 29.

Robin McKelle is not quite forty. Her first album is one of my favorites: since then I’ve found her hit and miss.

Gretchen Parlato has a lot of fans; she’s not quite my cup of tea.

Jane Monheit is another good choice.

Upon checking, I find that Madeleine_Peyroux turns 40 in April, so she still qualifies. I would have guessed she was older.

I was going to check her age before I posted, but you saved me the trouble. Thanks. She sounds so much like Lady Day sometimes that it’s scary.

She’s an excellent musician, and I don’t mind some of her singing, but when she starts doing that wordless noodling that she does, I have to turn the radio off. One DJ was kind enough to call it “scat”, but it’s not.

I’d forgotten Jane Monheit. We saw her do a gig in Seattle one Christmas and she’s pretty good.

Diana Krall is a pretty good piano player and a decent vocalist, but she just turned 50. Karyn Allison also falls into that group, but after listening to her bitch at paying customers during a nightclub act, I wouldn’t recommend her.

How old is Fiona Apple’s sister, Maude Maggart?


born 1975, so 38 or so.


She plays at joints like the Carlyle, which featured Bobby Short for decades, so I assume she qualifies.

Michael Buble has chops. How old is John Pizzarelli? He’s the Harry Connick jr. of guitar. ::checks:: wow, 53 - I didn’t know that…

ETA: Nellie McKay is 31 and kills on this version of Body and Soul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXZvWJx0RTs

I’ll say Jose James

Whoah! I’ve been away from the computer all day and I return to see a wealth of recommendations!

Thanks, everybody! Will start working my way through these!
Misnomer, I would LOVE to hear you sing!!! Got any links?

The 32-year-old Gaby Moreno is not exclusively (or even primarily) focused on jazz genres, but well worth a listen.

Ha! I’ve drunk with with Gaby! I don’t know her terribly well, but we have friends in common. And, yes, her music is wonderful.

I’m still a bit hesitant to (deliberately) share my real name here, but I will send you a PM. :slight_smile:

[Spelling Corrected]. I’m a big fan of both her singing and bass playing. She can also write some catchy hooks which is no mean feat considering the complexity of some of her music. Where I get stuck is her lyrics. At their worst they can be downright insipid and cringe-worthy.

I really liked her sultry, laid-back style for her first couple of CDs but her latest samba & bossa-nova-ish album was an absolute snooze-fest.

I find her fascinating. Excellent vocalist who stretches a lot of musical boundaries.

Awesomely talented singer and song interpreter.
My own recommendation is Elizabeth Shepherd. Jazzy and poppy and the same time as well as an excellent keyboard player.

Thanks so much everyone! I’m going to set some time aside later to binge listen.