Jazz is as “American as Apple Pie.” It began here and has swept the planet. Jazz came out of African American music, yet is still based in European musical traditions. It was developed by African Americans and heavily influenced by African rhythms. As a vocal music form, it has little that relates to classical singing but on the other hand, it is a healthy use of the vocal instrument (unlike some pop and rock). Jazz shifts the boundaries of the ‘power sound’ and the ‘pretty sound’ a bit but not enough to cause singers who prefer this music to worry about their vocal health. Jazz allows freedom of vocal expression, a wide range of pitches, a large variety of what musicians call “tone color.” Think of vocal tone color the same way you think of spoken text, harsh tone for angry words, soft tone for loving words, etc. We can do that in almost all vocal music but it is wonderful in jazz singing. Everything about this music should draw us all to participate in listening, if not singing it.