Jon Hendricks Talking Jazz
Nobody has done a better job of translating the vocabulary of bebop into standard English than Jon Hendricks. As a founding member of the landmark vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, he pioneered the field of “vocalese”, which took the tradition of “scat singing”, or singing nonsense syllables, one step further, by actually writing a verbal narrative to go with well known jazz solos. He has, over the years, become one of the music’s foremost historians, creating and starring in the stage production “The Evolution of the Blues,” which traced in music and verse the African-American experience and the power of its oral tradition. I first met Jon in the mid-seventies, when I produced a record with him and learned, first hand, that, “In jazz there are no mistakes, only opportunities.” Or, as Jon likes to say, “the mistakes are sometimes the only part that’s jazz.” Jon Hendricks continues today to be a father figure to literally dozens of vocal improvisors and devotes his time and talent to the nurturing of the art form, working primarily with Jon Hendricks & Co., a vocal quartet that includes his wife and daughters.