Sep 15, 2009 Features
I was perusing a Web site called Jazz.com the other day. They’ve been picking up a few of my posts here and there and sending traffic my way, which I appreciate. Anyway, they pointed to another feature from another post somewhere else in which the great drummer Jimmy Cobb was asked to list his six favorite records. Anyway, there was Miles Birth of the Cool and, of course, Kind of Blue, on which Cobb played. Then there was an Oscar Peterson and, incredibly to me, a Wynton Marsalis. I won’t comment on that one. The two that struck me were the vocalists: Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. This brought up a conversation I had with a friend last weekend. He had made the point that he believed there were three premium vocal stylists (in the jazz idiom, of course) in the 20th Century. They were:
Louis Armstrong, Nat Cole and Ray Charles. I found that interesting. I told him, for my money, I would take Ella head and shoulders above anyone else and there wasn’t even that close a second. The next one I mentioned was Sinatra. He surprised me by telling me that, among musicians, Ella doesn’t have the same cachet as some other vocalists, such as Sarah Vaughan. Anyway, it was an interesting conversation, fodder for discussion here (I hope) and it was also somewhat gratifying to see Jimmy Cobb confirm my opinion about Ella. Although I still can’t figure why he came up with Wynton Marsalis in his top six.