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  • Jon Hendricks (2009)

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    Jon Hendricks is the father of vocalese (the art of putting lyrics to instrumental solos). He was called by Leonard Feather "the Poet Laureate of jazz", and by Time magazine "the James Joyce of jive".

    Born and raised in Ohio, Jon performed in the 1930s as a teenager on radio and with fellow Toledo resident Art Tatum. He attended the University of Toledo on the GI Bill, but his rights expired before he could attend graduate school, so he moved to New York City in order to try his luck with singing. In 1957, he teamed with Dave Lambert and Annie Ross in the ground-breaking group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, and, as Jon puts it, he and Dave went from near-starvation to stardom within six months.

    In 1968 Jon used London as a base for his European and African tours, and then moved on to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he taught college and was a jazz critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Forty years on, Jon has won Emmy and Peabody awards, and is an NEA Jazz Master. He continues to teach at the University of Toledo.
    Pick Artist Album Song Label
    # 1 Dizzy Gillespie Dizzier and Dizzier Two Bass Hit (Victor)
    # 2 Duke Ellington and His Orchestra The Blanton-Webster Band Cottontail (Bluebird)
    # 3 Lambert, Hendricks and Ross Everybody's Bopping Cottontail (Columbia)
    # 4 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov Sheherazade/1812 Overture, Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmonik Sheherazade, Op. 35 (Deutsche Grammophon)
    # 5 Kurt Elling Live in Chicago Don't Get Scared (Blue Note)
    # 6 Thelonious Monk Solo Monk I'm Confessing (Columbia)
    # 7 Count Basie Breakfast Dance and Barbecue One o'Clock Jump (Roulette)
    # 8 Lambert, Hendricks and Ross Sing a Song of Basie One o'Clock Jump (Impulse)
    # 9 Jon Hendricks and Friends Freddie Freeloader Freddie Freeloader (Denon)
    # 10 Jon Hendricks A Good Git-Together Music in the Air (World Pacific)
    # 11 Jon Hendricks & Company Love Swinging Groove Merchant (Muse)
    Book The King James Bible
    Luxury Item "Whatever passes for a record player nowadays ... an iPod ... [with] every kind of music under the sun"
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