Betty Carter: how to sound original


I’m in Montreux with my friends, singers Clare Foster and Twana Rhodes - we’re touring in Switzerland with our colorful close harmony act. As we stroll over one of the afternoon’s sunny plaza’s, all [...]

Anita O’Day: how to phrase like a queen


Anita O’Day is one of the coolest jazz singers I know. She has a way with rhythm that is so spectacular and so highly personal. You’ll immediately recognize her style and playfulness. She bends, [...]

Carmen McRae – how to time


I have a confession to make. If there is one singer that I have a so-called acquired taste for, it would have to be Carmen McRae. You love her or you hate her. Her [...]

Peggy Lee: how to sing cool


Singer Peggy Lee was the inspiration for Miss Piggy. Yes, that Muppet Show’s stylish, self-assured pink blonde with a deep sense of romance. How many of us can bow to that kind of praise? [...]

Abbey Lincoln: how to write your own song.


When I first heard Abbey Lincoln, I was shocked. I was 17, schooled in classical singing, thinking I could tell right from wrong. And in comes this strong, natural, sometimes shaky voice. What the [...]

Shirley Horn: how to take it slow


To many jazz lovers, Shirley Horn is the empress of the slow ballads. Her tempi are always way beneath your heartbeat. She’s the goddess of the conversational style and one of my heroines. And [...]