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The Jazz Singer

Eddie Jefferson

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Album Review

Eddie Jefferson, one of the great jazz singers and an important pioneer of vocalese, is heard in peak form on this Evidence CD which reissues an Inner City LP and adds six previously unissued selections to the program. The bulk of the music is from 1959-1961, with Jefferson backed by several horns including trumpeter Howard McGhee and tenor saxophonist James Moody, and sometimes three other vocalists. There are many highlights including Jefferson's original classic versions of "Body and Soul" (a tribute to Coleman Hawkins, the "king of the saxophone") and "So What" (dedicated to Miles Davis), a remake of "Moody's Mood for Love" and vocalese adaptations of a few Lester Young and Charlie Parker solos. Most of the unissued tracks are from these sessions, but there is also "Silly Little Cynthia" from 1964 (a duet with pianist Tommy Tucker) and a meeting with guitarist Louisiana Red on 1965's "Red's New Dream." When one considers that Jefferson otherwise did not record during 1963-1967, it makes those two numbers not only enjoyable but historic. This CD is highly recommended for all jazz collections.

Biography

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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The Jazz Singer, Eddie Jefferson
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