1959 Newport Jazz Festival Streaming of the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival begins today with Joe Williams, Count Basie, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross! For previous LH&R posts here, click on "vocalese" in the labels below.
Just as the Basie set had built to an ecstatic peak, Williams introduces special guests Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, who leapt into the limelight just the previous year with their astonishing debut, Sing a Song of Basie on ABC-Paramount (later reissued on Impulse). Comprised of vocalese pioneers Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross, this invigorating trio specialized in setting lyrics (primarily penned by Hendricks) to existing and particularly memorable instrumental jazz solos. Ross was actually one of the first to successfully venture into vocalese with her 1952 hit "Twisted" (based on a famous Wardell Gray tenor sax solo). Her early experiments, along with those of fellow vocalese pioneers King Pleasure and Eddie Jefferson, marked her as a true innovator in vocal jazz. And when Ross joined forces in 1957 with Lambert and Hendricks - each of whom had been making notable strides on their own in the same vocalese direction - a powerhouse act was born. Their appearance at the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival came hot on the heels of their second triumphant release, The Swingers on the Pacific Jazz label (later reissued on EMI/Manhattan).
They enter with the jivey "It's Sand, Man" before tackling Basie's "Let Me See," Horace Silver's "Doodlin'" and the invigorating "Taps Miller." Williams joins them for a rousing rendition of Louis Jordan's "Rusty Dusty Blues," with Lambert, Hendricks and Ross providing backing vocal harmony and simulated horn pads. They deliver a soulful reading of Milt Jackson's "The Spirit-Feel," a tune that was also covered by Ray Charles the previous year at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. And they wrap it up with a swinging "Avenue C," a Basie staple chockfull of clever Hendricks lyrics, before segueing to Basie's closing theme, "One O'Clock Jump," putting the capper on what was easily one of the most invigorating and memorable sets of the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival.
--Excerpt from Wolfgang's Vault notes
Usin' the phone booth, Makin' a few calls, Doodlin' weird things, Usin' the booth walls.
Got me a big date, Waitin' for my chick, Puttin' my face on, So she could look slick,
I enjoy procrastinating 'Cause I'm busy while I'm waiting, Doodlin' away, doodlin away
Sittin' and dinin' Dinner beginnin', Started designin' Usin' the linen
Photo: Charles O'Neal
At age 83, Annie Ross is still performing. Here she is in August 2009 after an outdoor Jammin’ on the Hudson at Harlem's Riverbank State Park with the park’s cultural director, Ruth Thomas (l.), and public relations person, Pat Vitucci (r.). Her current solo act includes "Twisted" and "Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime". Also at Riverbank State Park is Milo Mottola and Maria Reidelbach's Totally Kid Carousel, the "first carousel in the world designed by kids."