Annie Ross has been an abundant contributor to the art of jazz for over 50 years. Born in the UK, she has been a permanent resident of the USA for many years and a US citizen since 2001. The following are some highlights of what has been a long and illustrious career in jazz:
Annie Ross is one of the pioneers of vocalese and the composer of "Twisted", one of the most well known examples of that art, as well as "Farmers Market", "Jackie" and many others. A founding member of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, considered the greatest jazz vocal ensemble of all time, her influence is present in all subsequent practitioners of vocalese. “Twisted“ has been recorded by a host of vocalists, including some not normally associated with jazz, including Joni Mitchell and Bette Midler.
Annie Ross toured in the 50’s with the extraordinary Lionel Hampton band that included Art Farmer, Clifford Brown, Gigi Gryce, and Quincy Jones. Ms. Ross has recorded with James Moody, Kenny Clarke, Milt Jackson, Harry Sweets Edison, the Count Basie band, Louis Armstrong, Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Chet Baker and many more. In this variety of settings, she became known as a great jazz singer, masterful at ballads and up tempos, with the ability to swing hard, improvise and make every lyric meaningful and revealing.
As a child, Annie Ross entered a talent show on the radio accompanied by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, which resulted an a six-month contract with MGM. She went to Hollywood at age eight where she appeared in "The Little Rascals" singing a jazz version of "Loch Lomond." At age eleven she appeared as Judy Garland’s sister in "Presenting Lily Mars." At age 14 she composed the song "Let's Fly", which was subsequently recorded by Johnny Mercer and Jo Stafford.
In Paris in the late 40’s, she met up with musicians involved in modern jazz, including James Moody, Kenny Clarke, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Billy Strayhorn, and displayed an unerring ear and savvy sense of harmony, which was much appreciated. At 19, she recorded “Le Vent Vert” with Moody. Back in the U.S. at age 21 she recorded for Savoy, along with Clarke, Milt Jackson and Percy Heath. She worked on 52nd St. with Max Roach, Tommy Potter and George Wallington and subbed for Billie Holiday at the Apollo Theater. The original recordings of “Twisted” and “Farmer’s Market” were done in 1952 with Wallington on piano and Art Blakey on drums.