To jazz fans, Annie Ross will always be a third of the nonpareil singing group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. But she left L-H-R in 1962. Ever since, she has been up to her ears in a variety of music and entertainment ventures. Will Friedwald caught up with the indefatigable Ms. Ross in New York and talked with her about her kaleidoscopic show business life and current singing career. She told Will about Bob Weinstock of Prestige Records asking her in 1952 if she could write lyrics to a group of instrumental solos.
I took the records home to my little one-room flat and the one that caught my ear was Wardell Gray’s “Twisted” — that suggested a whole mess of things to me.
Ross’s recording of “Twisted” became a jazz hit and led to her teaming with Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks. To read more about Annie Ross In Friedwald’s New York Sun column, go here.
John Birchard says
I only saw Ms. Ross “live’ once… but what a once it was. It was in the early 60’s at the Village Vanguard around the time when Lambert,Hendricks and Ross were at their peak, when Time Magazine was calling them “the James Joyces of Jive” (someone find that writer and punish him or her severely).
A friend and I had good seats in the packed club. We waited – and waited some more, because L, H & R were up at Madison Square Garden participating in some sort of rally or fundraiser where a fistful of celebs, performers, artists were called upon to appear. Their show ran late, but finally word came from a guy who ran down the stairs and shouted,”They’re here!”
In seconds, the three of them swept down the stairs and into the room, all full of energy and excitement, pumped by the reception they’d gotten uptown. The guys were in sharp tuxes, Annie glowing in a long, pink gown. They took the stage to a wave of applause and cheers. They did
not disappoint. L, H & R swung the Vanguard into bad health, hurtling through their repertoire with joy and humor.
They were at the top of their form that cold winter night. Some question whether what they did was really jazz, using other people’s solos as vehicles for their skills and enthusiam. I never had any trouble with the question – and I suggest those who do, listen to “Sing a Song of Basie” or the Columbia recording of “Centerpiece” with Sweets Edison, just to cite two examples. If you’re not convinced that’s jazz, see your family physician. Have the doc check your pulse.
I, for one, am glad to learn Ms. Annie is still brightening our days.