Vocal genius Jon Hendricks dies aged 96

The singer was often referred to as the father of vocalese

The game changing jazz star Jon Hendricks has died in hospital in New York, it has been confirmed. The singer was often known as ‘the father of vocalese’ after he popularised the practice in the 40’s and 50’s - taking known instrumental pieces of music and adding scat or lyrical vocals. 

Hendricks was most known for his trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, who harmonised the songs to create a unique sound. Their stage presence earned them hundreds of club bookings and dozens of national US television appearances in only a short period of time, their 1961 album High Flying scored them a Grammy for best vocal group. 

He was born in Ohio in 1921 and by the age of 9 was already singing with legendary jazz performer Art Tatum. He was ‘taken under a Bird’s wing’ with Charlie Parker and later sang with the Count Basie orchestra. In later years he was a jazz journalist and professor, but always performed shows, right up until his final years. Al Jarreau always described Hendricks as his idol. 

 

 

 

 

 

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