Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross (vocals).
Additional personnel includes: Nat Pierce (piano); Freddie Green (guitar); Eddie Jones (bass); Sonny Payne (drums).
Producers: Creed Taylor, Milt Gabler.
Reissue producer: Bryan Koniarz.
Recorded in New York, New York between May 12, 1955 and October 11, 1957. Originally released on ABC-Paramount (223). Includes liner notes by Will Friedwald.
Digitally remastered by Kevin Reeves (Universal Music Studios-East).
This is part of the Verve Master Edition series.
Though it was King Pleasure's rollicking "Moody's Mood for Love" that popularized jazz vocalese (singing fresh lyrics to pre-existing jazz solos), it was Jon Henricks who developed the concept beyond that of a hermetic hipster's lullaby. Inspired by the ultra swinging "New Testament" Count Basie band of the '50s, Hendricks set a whole slew of words to these latter-day Basie arrangements and solos. He then invited friends and vocalese practitioners Dave Lambert (founder of be-boppers The Dave Lambert Singers) and Annie Ross of "Twisted" fame to execute the tricky lead and section work.
The result was a deep swinging masterpiece called SING A SONG OF BASIE and the first appearance of a legendary group called Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. Though the album's 10 selections are just a little over a half-hour, there's enough words and music here to make it seem like some sort of crazy jazz opera. Annie Ross is astonishing as she hits impossibly high trumpet parts with aplomb. She also takes the lead on "Fiesta in Blue" and "Two for the Blues." Her two dapper consorts, Lambert and Hendricks, counter with a gritty verbal soft-shoe, sustained only by wit and a modest little quartet of piano trio plus guitar.