Guys, ready to explore the world of jazz? There are so many good jazz songs to sing and talented jazz singers to check out! Here are some top picks from voice teacher Molly R...
For beginner vocal students (or ANY vocal student, for that matter!) nothing beats a jazz standard! Even the rocker guys I work with agree that mastering a classic can do absolute wonders for improving your voice.
Jazz songs are great for singers for so many reasons: phrasing, musicianship, improvisation, strengthening your middle range… sold yet? Then why not consider one of these 15 great songs for male jazz singers? There is a huge variety here: you’re bound to find a few that you’ll love to sing!
1) “Fly Me to the Moon”
What a fun one! You can swing the rhythm like Frank Sinatra, or sing it “straight.” That’s why jazz is so great — you’ve got choices!
2) “Hello, Dolly!”
While I don’t suggest you try to emulate Satchmo’s signature scratchy sound, this song is swinging! Fun fact: it became a #1 hit that booted the Beatles off the top of the charts in 1964.
3) “Embraceable You”
A beautiful Gershwin standard! It’s sweet, slow-paced, and sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Here’s Nat King Cole singing it in his smooth style.
4) “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?”
This is another uptempo jazz song that is witty and just sheer fun! This is performed by the legendary Dean Martin. Although it’s often performed with a full band, don’t let the big sound fool you. This is always a treat sung with just a piano, too!
Numerous singers have made this heartfelt ballad their own — and can you blame them? It’s easy to improvise and the lyrics are just lovely. Here it is performed by the gentleman who made it most popular, Johnny Mathis.
6) “All of Me”
Again, Mr. Sinatra shows us how you can make choices in jazz. Here, he swings the rhythm. Although you also have the choice of singing it slower and more in the style of a ballad. Either way, this is always a solid choice!
7) “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”
I love this song because of the clever and memorable lyrics. In this video, Harry Connick, Jr. gives this classic song his cool flair.
8) “A Foggy Day in London Town”
The Gershwins did such an amazing job of painting a picture of a place with their music. Here’s further proof of that with Michael Bublé’s version this wonderful number.
9) “I Won’t Dance”
This sassy song by Jerome Kern is sometimes sung as a duet, but it’s also sung as a solo jazz piece. Legends such as Sinatra and Tony Bennett are among the many who have sung it, as well as movie star Fred Astaire, seen here.
10) “It Had to Be You”
Does anyone have a jazzier tone than living legend Tony Bennett? He’s one of the greatest male jazz singers of all time — just listen to how simply but effectively he delivers this uplifting classic!
11) “All the Way”
This standard has one grand, sweeping melody. It’s the perfect tune to show off emotion as well as how well you can build a phrase.
This one was made for intimate jazz club settings! It’s especially beautiful with nothing more than simple piano accompaniment, as heard here with Harry Connick, Jr.
13) “The Girl From Ipanema”
Like many of the jazz songs in this list, there have been countless versions of this piece. This was even a Top-40 hit in the 1960s! Many have given this a Latin feel, but note how Nat King Cole gives it a slightly more traditional sound.
14) “When Sunny Gets Blue”
Smooth… cool… and yet very emotional at the same time. Ah, that’s why we love vocal jazz! Mel Torme, the “Velvet Fog” himself, sings this so beautifully, with impeccable phrasing and diction.
15) “New York State of Mind”
Billy Joel was no doubt inspired from great songs of the past when he wrote and recorded this favorite “new standard” in the 1970s! Many of the greats have put their own stamp on his salute to the Big Apple. Wouldn’t this be a great number to either open or close a show with?
So there you have it! Fifteen fantastic jazzy standards that are perfect for male jazz singers of all ages. (Ladies, check out my list of popular jazz songs for females here!)
Of course, the best way to determine the perfect songs for you is by working with your voice teacher. He or she can easily help you find what is best for your vocal range and musical abilities. If you don’t already have one, TakeLessons can help you find your perfect match for either online or in-person voice lessons.
Photo by Eva Rinaldi