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King Pleasure Sings / Annie Ross Sings

King Pleasure & Annie Ross

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Album Review

The brief life span of classic jazz vocalese singing found its first inspiration in these King Pleasure sides. Pleasure vocalized many bebop solos by the likes of James Moody, Charlie Parker, and Lester Young, often adding his own hip and witty lyrics to the mix. Initially issued on his debut, Moody's Mood for Love, the first eight sides here include solid senders like "Parker's Mood," "Red Top" (based on a Gene Ammons solo and featuring singer Betty Carter), and "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid" (Lester Young). Balancing out the boppish fare, Pleasure also delivers ballads like "This Is Always" (featuring the Dave Lambert Singers) and his own composition, "Don't Be Scared" (up-and-coming vocalese star Jon Hendriks guests). Future Hendriks cohort Annie Ross co-headlines this LP, matching Pleasure's best with hits like "Twisted" (Wardell Gray) and "Farmer's Market" (Art Farmer). Her wordless scat feature, "Annie's Lament," is a highlight as well. A must for bop and vocal jazz fans.

Biography

Born: 24 March 1922 in Oakdale, TN

Genre: Jazz

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

Along with Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure was one of the early masters of vocalese — a style in which lyrics are written and sung to the solos of jazz instrumentalists. Although Pleasure cited Jefferson as his main influence and said that Jefferson was embracing vocalese before him, Pleasure's sax-like phrasing and scat singing proved equally influential. The charismatic improviser (who recorded for Prestige, Aladdin, Jubilee, HiFi Jazz, and United Artists) is best known for his 1952 hit "Moody's...
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King Pleasure Sings / Annie Ross Sings, King Pleasure
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