An upcoming edition of Will Friedwald’s ongoing Clip Joint series presents The Jon Hendricks Memorial & The Dave Lambert Centennial – a Celebration of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. The free presentation is at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Tuesday January 16, at 7 PM. In addition to Friedwald’s commentary, the evening will also feature music samples and a collection of classic and rare footage of the group that Friedwald considers “the greatest vocal group in the history of jazz.”
Lambert, Hendricks and Ross became a revolutionary force in vocal music during the late 1950s and early ’60s. The group applied the concepts of bop harmonies to vocal music, transforming a plethora of jazz instrumentals into songs. Arranger Dave Lambert wrote distantly related vocal lines for each voice, which remarkably came together in the final product. Jon Hendricks (who recently passed away) wrote lyrics to such pieces as “Cottontail,” and “Moanin’,” while the still-performing vocalist Annie Ross penned the words to “Twisted.” The group’s debut LP was released in 1957. The trio was active until 1964 (with Yolanda Bavin replacing Ross in 1962). Lambert died in a tragic traffic accident in 1966.