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  • Eric Reed wrote on July 28, 2011 report

    Mr. Hamilton:

    Your article on Eddie Jefferson and the art of vocalese is most refreshing; thank you for writing it.

    While Jefferson certainly deserves the lion’s share of the credit for this masterful skill (which he had been developing as far back as 1939 with lyrics to Count Basie’s “Taxi War Dance”), it would be remiss not to acknowledge the technique’s earlier roots, as filtered through “scatting” via Louis Armstrong’s “Heebie Jeebies” (1926) and Marion Harris’ “Singin’ the Blues” (1934 - based on the instrumental version’s solos by Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer.)

    Also, it’s important to note that James Moody’s 1949 recording, with his Swedish Crowns (not a symphony) was officially “I’m in the Mood for Love” (at least, that’s the case according to the original Prestige 78 I have of the recording.) It didn’t become “Moody’s Mood for Love” until after King Pleasure recorded it with Jefferson’s lyrics.

    I hope you don’t mind these little notes; I just think it’s important to keep the story straight.

  • david louis wilson wrote on July 31, 2011 report

    I've put together a playlist of a lot of the original recordings of songs that were turned into vocalese. Then counter-posed it with the vocalese versions. It is amazing how much the singers "got" the essence of the solos and translated them into a new form. Eddie Jefferson was one of the best and everyone should give him a listen.