This is a review for Hal Leonard’s “Vocal Pro” Series “Jazz Standards for Female Singers, Volume 2.” First of all, I just love this book! I am even considering making it a required purchase for all incoming voice students this year. The songs are classic and fun. They are challenging, as the notes move up and down a lot, and quite unexpectedly, but at the same time, the keys are all friendly enough for the beginning singer. With that in mind, I will say the only downside is that these keys are not good for soprano singers. If your students are most comfortable in a high register, you may want to consider the male keys.
The song selection is good. There seems to be something for everyone. I love to start my new students off with “Bye Bye Blackbird,” because it’s catchy and short, and gives a new student a feeling of accomplishment. “Lullaby of Birdland” can be sung slow or up-tempo, and “The Girl from Ipanema” is great for girls with very soft voices. Other songs include “Fever” and “Stormy Weather.”
The sheet music is in a fake book format, so you have to be comfortable playing chords if you want to accompany your students. If not, there is a very high quality CD of background tracks. Included on the CD are demo tracks sung by professional singers. I have to say, the quality is so high, I would be fooled if you played it at a party and told me it was just some Jazz CD you bought over the weekend. The talent is that good.
My only complaint is I wish there were more songs. This is just a starting point in the world of Jazz singing. But it never hurts to have more than one book. I recently ordered another one to supplement this collection. It’s called “The Singer’s Book of Jazz Standards.” I will be sure to review it once I have used it more.