Jazz lyricist and singer Jon Hendricks will celebrate his 93rd birthday with a debut at Café Carlyle on Tuesday, September 23. Hendricks’ iconic career spans nearly 50 years.
During the radical 1960s and ’70s, Jon Hendricks was one-third of the jazz group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Hendricks’s lyrical talent came to afford him the title of the originator of "vocalese." The process adds lyrics to existing jazz orchestral instrumental songs, replacing the instruments with vocalists.
His most prominent use of vocalese was on a recording of Duke Ellington's “Cottontail” by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross in 1960.
His vocalese trend wasn’t all positive. As WNYC reports, Miles Davis once ate Hedricks' steak because he messed with his solos.
Hendricks celebrated fame when his lyrics were sung by the Ray Charles, Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, The Manhattan Transfer, Thelonious Monk and Carmen McRae.