The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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date the innumerable and almost invariably out-of-tune vocal quartets and quintets, and the solo ballad singers, mostly male. If it is possible to find any redeeming values in the latter two categories, it might be that the performers are not quite as appalling as the material they choose to sing.
The future of jazz singing is in doubt. In evolving from the first primitive blues of the nineteenth century field hands into the sophisticated balladry of Sarah Vaughan and the vocalese of Annie Ross, jazz singing may have reached a dead end in which, unlike the improvising instrumentalists, the performer is limited by his material. Certainly there will be blues singers in future decades, for the blues and the human voice have retained their natural affinity throughout this century of jazz; but as we have observed, the blues can never contain the whole art of jazz singĀ­ing. The outlook may depend less on the singers themselves than on the composers and arrangers, who will have to prospect for new resources in the employment of voices, just as they are searching for new instrumental horizons. In their hands, in their imagination, is the key to what lies ahead for the human voice as a jazz vehicle.