Jon Hendricks who was a focal member of the jazz band in the 1950’s, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, died according to a report from The New York Times. The singer was 96-years-old at the time of his death.
Time Magazine once labeled him as the “James Joyce of Jive” and was known for his technique called, Vocalese – created by Eddie Jefferson – where singers take inspiration from instrumentals and improvise based off of the original passage.
Hendricks not only created unique vocal improvisations, but he also took the words of others to develop unique compositions. Additionally, Jon performed alongside the Count Basie Orchestra and added words to manufacture his unique music, notably, “Jumpin’ at the Woodside.”
Jon Hendricks, a jazz singer and songwriter who put lyrics to well-known jazz instrumentals and turned them into vocal tours de force, has died at 96 https://t.co/vWzHL8Rj1m
— New York Times Music (@nytimesmusic) November 22, 2017
Jon made a name for himself in 1957 with the success of the song, “Sing A Song Of Basie” which was recorded alongside Dave Lambert.
They completed their band at the time with Annie Ross and went on to achieve great success. While on stage with his band, Jon was the primary lyricist and on-stage persona.
The musical trio went down in history for scat singing, charisma, and the effortlessness of their harmonization. However, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross broke up in 1962 and Hendricks went on to form the band, The Warlocks, who became The Grateful Dead a few years later.
Jon was born in 1921 in the city of Newark, Ohio and was one of fourteen children. He studied law as a soldier just a few years after World War II. Hendricks found himself in New York City shortly after and ghostwrote lyrics for Tin Pan Alley to make money. Later in his life, Hendricks taught jazz music at the University Of Toledo and also worked as a music critic.