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Vocal Ease

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Album Review

Vocal Ease is a compilation culled from three of Eddie Jefferson's '70s titles: Things Are Getting Better, Still on the Planet, and The Live-Liest. It features the late vocalese master toward the end of his career, sounding fantastic and making bold repertoire choices. The biggest surprise by far is Miles Davis's "Bitches Brew." To hear Davis's heady abstractions put to words is quite remarkable, even if the track pales in comparison to the original. Jefferson also tackles Sly Stone's "Thank You (Fallettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," using it as an opportunity to say "thank you" to a pantheon of jazz greats. He delves deep into Adderley-style '70s soul-jazz with "Zap! Carnivorous," "Things Are Getting Better," and "I Got the Blues," a Fat Albert-like riff based on Lester Young's "Lester Leaps In." On the more straight-ahead front, there's Davis's "So What" (played quite fast), Dizzy Gillespie's "Night in Tunisia," and Charlie Parker's "Ornithology" and "Billie's Bounce." Jefferson sounds great, filtering bebop through a hip '70s lens and making clear his influence on younger singers like Miles Griffith and George V. Johnson, Jr. Instrumental highlights are provided by great players such as Richie Cole on alto sax, Mickey Tucker on keyboards, and Eddie Gladden on drums. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi


Born: 03 August 1918 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

The founder of vocalese (putting recorded solos to words), Eddie Jefferson did not have a great voice, but he was one of the top jazz singers, getting the maximum out of what he had. He started out working as a tap dancer, but by the late '40s was singing and writing lyrics. A live session from 1949 (released on Spotlite) finds him pioneering vocalese by singing his lyrics to "Parker's Mood" and Lester Young's solo on "I Cover the Waterfront." However, his classic lyrics to "Moody's Mood for Love"...
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Vocal Ease, Eddie Jefferson
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