Vocalese

Vocalese is a style or genre of jazz singing wherein lyrics are written for melodies that were originally part of an all-instrumental composition or improvisation. Whereas scat singing uses improvised nonsense syllables, such as "bap ba dee dot bwee dee" in solos, vocalese uses lyrics, either improvised or set to pre-existing instrumental solos. The word "vocalese" is a play on the musical term "vocalise" and the suffix "-ese", meant to indicate a sort of language.

The inventor and most prolific practitioner of vocalese was Eddie Jefferson, whose rendition of Coleman Hawkins's "Body and Soul" became a hit on its own. Pioneers of vocalese include King Pleasure and Babs Gonzales, Jefferson's former dance partner. The best-known practitioners are probably Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, which was made up of Jon Hendricks, Dave Lambert and Annie Ross. Ross's 1952 lyrics for the song "Twisted", a blues improvisation by saxophonist Wardell Gray, are considered a classic of the genre. Other performers known for vocalese include Bob Dorough, Giacomo Gates [http://www.giacomogates.com/] , Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau, and The Manhattan Transfer, with their Grammy-winning version of Weather Report's "Birdland" set to lyrics by Jon Hendricks.

Some performers, notably Slim Gaillard, Harry Gibson, Cab Calloway and Leo Watson, combine vocalese improvisations with scat singing.

Most vocalese lyrics are entirely syllabic, as opposed to melismatic. This may lead to the use of many words sung quickly in a given phrase, especially in the case of bebop.

ee also

*Eddie Jefferson
*doo-wop
*voice instrumental
*Tonal language

*"Vocalese" the 1985 album by The Manhattan Transfer
*The Manhattan Transfer

References

*J. Bradford Robinson: "Vocalese". Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy. Accessed 25 Jun 05 [http://www.grovemusic.com (subscription access)] .

External links

* [http://www.guntheranderson.com/v/data/twisted.htm "Twisted" lyrics]


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  • Vocalese — Le Vocalese est l art de composer des paroles et de les chanter à la manière de solos instrumentaux enregistrés. Inventé par le critique de jazz Leonard Feather, le Vocalese a atteint son apogée en 1957 1962. Les interprètes chantent en solo ou… …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • vocalese — noun Jazz singing genre where the lyrics are written to melodies that were originally parts of an all instrumental composition or improvisation …   Wiktionary

  • vocalese — [ˌvəʊkə li:z] noun a style of singing in which singers put words to jazz tunes or solos …   English new terms dictionary

  • vocalese — vo·ca·lese …   English syllables

  • vocalese — ˌvōkəˈlēz, ˈlēs noun ( s) Etymology: probably alteration (influenced by ese (I)) of vocalise : a jazz vocal style in which the voice emulates an instrumental part …   Useful english dictionary

  • Vocalese (Manhattan Transfer album) — Infobox Album Name = Vocalese Type = studio Artist = The Manhattan Transfer Released = 1985 Recorded = Genre = Jazz Length = Label = Atlantic records Producer = Reviews = Last album = Bop Doo Wop 1985 This album = Vocalese 1985 Next album = Man… …   Wikipedia

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