235

Eddie Jefferson: Vocal Ease

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Writing lyrics to fit transcribed jazz solos note for note, Eddie Jefferson founded vocalese in the late 1940s. His lyrics contained a contextual message about the referenced artist, which he performed, to the accompaniment of a small ensemble. The singer’s "Parker’s Mood" salute to Bird and his "I Cover the Waterfront" salute to Pres were recorded in 1949. But it was King Pleasure who captured the public’s ear, singing Jefferson’s "Moody’s Mood for Love" and "Parker’s Mood" a few years later. This compilation by 32 Jazz comes from the four Muse albums that Jefferson recorded in the mid-1970s. The singer adds some scat singing to his performances, which contain improvised instrumental interludes from a talented cast. The electric sounds from that seventies decade are used sparingly, as Jefferson alternates electric and acoustic basses and pianos. Eddie Jefferson was fatally shot outside a Detroit club in 1979 after performing there; he was 60.

Capturing the mood, as one would expect on "Ornithology" and "Bitches Brew," for example, Jefferson speaks to the nature of each artist and to the impact each piece had on listeners. "So What" and "Bitches Brew" capture the essence of Miles Davis descriptively and through musical timbres, including muted trumpet, velvety tenor saxophone, and eerie bass clarinet tones. The latter piece, of course, veers from the traditional vocalese course by adding reverb, echo, musical saw, and more. "Zap! Carnivorous," with Richie Cole, was a precursor to today’s rapster jargon. Jefferson warns about carnivores that threaten our streets, emphasizing the thought with forceful language. "Night in Tunisia" features Billy Mitchell on flute and Joe Newman with muted trumpet, while Sam Jones and Joe Newman take the solo spots on "Billie’s Bounce." Trumpeter Waymon Reed contributes several lovely interludes to the album. His fluid, mellow tone and lyrical phrasing recall Clifford Brown’s favorable sound. Reed’s trumpet interludes on "Ornithology" and "I Got the Blues" reveal a heartfelt sensitivity toward melodic interpretation. Sadly he, like Eddie Jefferson, is gone; but the music remains for us to enjoy again and again.


Title: Vocal Ease | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Repertoire Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Vocal Ease
Repertoire Records
1999
buy
The Live-Liest
Repertoire Records
1979
buy
The Main Man
Repertoire Records
1977
buy
Still On The Planet
Repertoire Records
1976
buy
The Jazz Singer
Repertoire Records
1976
buy
Come Along With Me
Repertoire Records
1969
buy

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "The Complete Syllables Music" CD/LP/Track Review The Complete Syllables Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Gateway" CD/LP/Track Review Gateway
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "Astrometrics" CD/LP/Track Review Astrometrics
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Blue Maqams" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Maqams
by John Kelman
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "Trickster" CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "The Brightest Minute" CD/LP/Track Review The Brightest Minute
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.