Music can be both instrumental and vocal, but historically the first instrument of a person was undoubtedly his voice. Jazz has its own singing characteristics, which gradually changed in parallel with the general evolution of jazz. Jazz vocals are one of the most important means of jazz expression. At first, the participation of the human voice in jazz was somewhat anomalous: instead of free improvisation (like an instrumentalist), the performer had only a sample text. However, they (voice and music) can be equivalent - for example, jazz and the singing of Louis Armstrong, from which in the 20's. in fact, jazz vocals began (it is not without reason that the well-known historical book dedicated to the famous jazz singers and singers of America is called "Children of Louis", 1984).
Although in reality there is no strict formulation of jazz vocals, but if you call its most distinctive characteristics, then it will be clear what is at stake, what is in the center (but at the same time, like any music, it is mainly necessary to listen to it as jazz singers do, learning from each other). Jazz vocals are determined by the individual qualities of the singer (as well as the musician), this includes jazz performance, characteristic vocal tones, unique tonal qualities and, moreover, jazz phrasing, jazz “attack”. Over time, in the process of development of jazz music, vocalists increasingly tried to imitate instrumentalists in their improvisations, which was most clearly manifested in the manner of so-called "scat singing" (ie phonetic improvisation, when a performer uses not words or phrases, but simply separate syllables ) Singing in "phonemes" is also an essential hallmark of jazz vocals. The beginning of the “sket” was laid, as the story goes, back in 1926 by the same Louis Armstrong, being both a singer and an instrumentalist, since on his trumpet he played almost the same notes and phrases as he sang, and vice versa. During the 40s, due to the appearance of the “bop” style, jazz singing became much more complicated, getting the name “bop-sket”, which was greatly facilitated by Ella Fitzgerald.
Historically, the specifics of jazz vocals are largely determined by its connection with the folklore of North American blacks, and above all with the blues. Therefore, it is characterized by the expansion of means of expressiveness compared to traditional European technology, manifested in the use of glissando, falsetto, vibration, nasal laryngeal sounds, whispering or sudden forcing of notes, as well as other external sound effects.
The blues had both spiritual and secular roots in the history of African American vocals, but now the first blues singers from the people are different from modern jazz vocalists, like a poor man’s shack from a villa in Hollywood. But all modern jazz vocals are still inextricably linked with the blues, which runs through the whole history of jazz and is its cornerstone ...