Billie or Ella? Maria or Renata? Technique or feeling?

I stand back to no one in my admiration for Ella Fitzgerald's technique but all the vocal fireworks make for precious little emotion. Billie Holiday on the other hand makes you feel she's singing just for you.

Technique vs emotion also goes in listening to Renata Tebaldi (superb technique) and Maria Callas who like Lady Day makes you feel she's singing just for you.

David Oistrakh was a violinist who combined flawless technique with raw emotion. Sviatoslav Richter was his counterpart on piano. Their modern day successors are Julia Fischer on violin and Daniil Trifonov on piano.


Feeling. Callas all the time. Listen to Sumi Jo for technique and no feeling. However it is possible to achieve both together - Schwarzkopf, Gruberova Norman or, Netrebko.

chockwan: "They do say that the fastest way to empty a room at a hifi show is to put on some opera." Perhaps, but the friends I attend with ask for opera rather than pop music.

I’m a great admirer of Billie Holiday’s singing and have most of her recordings. I would like to acquire some Ella Fitzgerald jazz recordings as well. Most of what you most commonly see of her work are the the "Songbook" type recordings like the Cole Porter or Gershwin songbook or recordings like Porgy and Bess with Louis Armstrong.

There must be outstanding straight jazz Ella Fitzgerald albums you might recommend that I could search out. Nothing against the above mentioned recordings, which many of you must enjoy, they’re just not to my individual taste. Thanks for any suggestions.


@skyscraper So as to properly address your query, I’m curious as to what you mean by, “straight jazz.” What would be an example of such?

Tylermunns, just as an example, Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" or "Birth of the Cool" recordings as opposed to his "Sketches of Spain" or  Louis Armstrong's "Hot Five and Hot Seven" recordings as opposed to His "Hello Dolly" material. 



As far as vocalists go, Ella isn’t “straight jazz.”  When we talk of vocalists of this ilk, (Holiday, Vaughn, Washington, Sinatra, etc.) I don’t consider any of them “straight jazz.” I think of Abbey Lincoln who, by the 1960s, was singing real-deal jazz music with the great Max Roach (her husband).  Brilliant.

Those previously mentioned vocalists are singing the songs of Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Harold Arlen, Rodgers & Hart, Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, etc.  

These are some of the greatest pop songwriters in history, but not what I would call jazz.