Second Tier: Great Women Jazz Singers

No one would argue with the singers we’ve named as the five best (THE BIG FIVE) or the second group we’re cailing SWINGING AND JAZZY, but when it comes to the “second tier’’, selections are not so clear cut. Some of the candidates might have gone into one of the other categories we’ve designated - Dianne Reeves or Nancy Wison, for example. Maxine Sullivan and June Christy have historical significance but Ernestine Anderson and Carol Sloane are subjective choices.

Image of Peggy LeePEGGY LEE (1920–2002) was a jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, whose career spanned seven decades. Several of her compositions became standards, notably “I Love Being Here With You”.



Comments by jazz and pop singing historian Will Friedwald:

image of Maxine Sullivan

MAXINE SULLIVAN (1911–1987) was active for half a century, from the mid-1930s to just before her death in 1987. A precursor to better-known vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, she is considered one of the best jazz vocalists of the time.






image of June Christy

JUNE CHRISTY (1925–1990) was known as an innovator of “cool” jazz and for her silky smooth vocals. She started out with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, then pursued a solo career (from 1954) Her best known album is “Something Cool.”


Image of Ernestine AndersonERNESTINE ANDERSON (1928–2016) was equally adept at jazz and blues, recording over 30 albums and nominated four times for a Grammy Award.


Image of Carol SloaneCAROL SLOANE (1934­-2023) was one of the finest jazz singers of the post-jazz era, whose strongest influence was Carmen McRae.



June Christy is best remembered as an innovator in the Cool Jazz genre of the 1950s; her voice—a smoky, slow vibrato, originating deep in the chest—will forever be an important part of The Great American Songbook. Chris Connor, who followed Christy in the Stan Kenton band is also said to be part of the “cool” genre. Christy did not like the label because she thought it meant she was singing with no feeling which she said was not the case.

Ernestine Anderson Place
Ernestine Anderson (1928-2016) moved with her family from Houston in 1944 when she was 16. After an illustrious career that took her to Los Angeles, New York and Europe, she settled back in Seattle in 1974, making the city her home base as she toured the United States and abroad.
Ernestine’s philanthropic contributions to the city were enormous. Each year, she performed dozens of benefits, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for radio station KPLU, the music programs at Roosevelt High School, Garfield High School, Washington Middle School, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the YWCA, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and other local charities.
In 2013, the city commemorated her generous spirit as well as her music contributions by naming a low Income apartment complex Ernestine Anderson Place.
Located in Seattle’s Central District, Ernestine Anderson Place provides 61 units of affordable housing for homeless and low-income seniors ages 55 and up - a fitting legacy to one of Seattle’s most beloved citizens.

To see the video in full screen, click the icon in the lower right-hand corner, and to get back, do the same. IMPORTANT:

"I Love Being Here With You"
Bill Schluger - Peggy Lee

"I Can't Get Started"
Vernon Duke - Ira Gershwin

Alan Roberis-Doris Fisher

"Lover Come Back to Me"
Sigmund Romberg-
Oscar Hammerstein II

"All Blues"
Miles Davis - Oscar Brown Jr