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Vocalese is the pinnacle of jazz singing; a jazz singing style based on lyrics composed to melodies that were originally part of non-vocal compositions or improvisations. There are only a handful of truly proficient vocalese lyricists, a short list including Eddie Jefferson, Babs Gonzales, King Pleasure (Clarence Beeks), Jon Hendricks, and Mark Murphy. East Chicago native Lutalo Olutosin honors all this and more on his Tribute to Greatness. Far from mere imitation, Olutosin sings these composition in his own relaxed way, never sacrificing clarity for fireworks.
Olutosin displays his relaxation on King Pleasure's interpretation of the "Parker's Mood" blues. "Comfort" might be a better term. Olutosin leisurely strolls over the deceptively simple Parker line right through the slow-burn improvisation parts in the second chorus, while Winfield Gaylor blows a bluesy serenade of a chorus, before the Parker 12-bar ends and the Leiber and Stoller 12-bar begin. Olutosin takes his time with this jump blues classic, turning up the earlier slow-burn to a full simmer by the end. Kansas City indeed.
Personnel: Lutalo Olutosin: vocals; Louis Heriveaux: keyboards; Henry Connerway, III:
drums; Winfield Gaylor: soprano and tenor saxophones; Kevin Smith: bass.
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me. Try as I might, I was never able to achieve a high enough level of competency to perform at the level I was first and subsequently exposed to. Regardless, I was hooked on jazz and remain so to this day.