Jon Hendricks

Boppin' at the Blue Note

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Jon Hendricks, the genius of vocalese (writing words to fit the recorded solos of jazz greats), has long been one of the top lyricists in music. However, the emphasis during the first seven songs of this live CD is on scatting and heated bop-oriented improvising. Hendricks, assisted by daughter Michele, is joined by quite an all-star horn section -- trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, trombonist Al Grey, altoist Red Holloway, and tenor Benny Golson -- in addition to a supportive four-piece rhythm section. After a warm-up on "Get Me to the Church on Time," Jon sings some humorous lyrics on "Do You Call That a Buddy?," swings hard on his original boppish "Good Ol' Lady," and gets a bit lowdown on "Contemporary Blues." The biggest surprise of the date is "Everybody's Boppin'," which features scatting by Jon Hendricks, Michele Hendricks, and Wynton Marsalis. Wynton is quite effective and typically virtuosic in a manner similar to Dizzy Gillespie. Michele is excellent on an uptempo "Almost Like Being in Love" and "Since I Fell for You," while Jon sings the blues on "Roll 'Em Pete" and, together with Kevin Burke and Judith, Michele, and Aria Hendricks, performs vocalese versions of three Count Basie charts long ago recorded by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: re-creations of re-creations. This was Jon Hendricks' best all-round recording in several years and one of the finest jazz vocal albums to be released in 1995.

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