Lots of people may deny that they have ever seen them
Funny little people walking 'round in the sky
But I know myself I've seen a thousand little people
Every time I look into my baby's eye
Eddie Jefferson, "A Night in Tunisia"
The first vocalese performer to get anywhere at all. His lyrics for
"Moody's Mood For Love" became a hit for King Pleasure in 1952, and
got the whole vocalese thing moving. After
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
made it popular in the late '50s, Jefferson sang with Moody and laid
down a number of excellent tracks. After getting out of the music
business for a while, he returned in the '70s, eventually teaming up
with Richie Cole. Around then
The Manhattan Transfer started
hanging out with him, and actually commissioned him to set lyrics to
"Birdland" just before he was murdered.
His lyrics tend to be either about the original artist or silly, both
types pouring forth in an effortless stream of consciousness.
- CDNow's Eddie Jefferson page,
with lots of albums and a video! (Warning: from the track
listing, the expensive import album Hipper Than
Thou sure sounds like The Jazz Singer.)
- The Jazz Singer (Evidence?, 1959-1964)
All songs are vocalese by Jefferson unless noted.
- "So What?" Jefferson vocalese about Miles Davis and his
- "Moody's Mood For Love" Jefferson sings his vocalese -- the
words he wrote for King Pleasure that were the first
- "Sister Sadie"
- "Lester's Trip to the Moon (Paper Moon)" Jefferson vocalese
on Lester Young solo.
- "T.D.'s Boogie Woogie"
- "Now's the Time" This is a vocalese on the same recording
as LHR used on The Swingers. I like this version,
written just after Parker's death, rather better. The liner
notes indicate it's a Bird solo followed by a Miles Davis
- "Body and Soul" Based on the Coleman Hawkins recording,
this is the version that the Manhattan Transfer recorded.
- "Sherry" From a Ray Charles piano solo on Ray
Charles At Newport.
- "Baby Girl (These Foolish Things)" From Lester Young.
- "Memphis" Jefferson original.
- "Honeysuckle Rose"
- "A Crazy Romance (The Preacher)"
- "Night Train"
- "NJR (I'm Gome)"
- "I've Got the Blues (Lester Leaps In)"
- "Silly Little Cynthia" Jefferson original.
- "Red's New Dream" Jefferson original.
- Letter From Home (Riverside, 1961)
- "Letter From Home" Keepnews?
- "Take the 'A' Train" Starts with the original Mignone lyrics,
then off on a wild Jefferson vocalese.
- "Billie's Bounce" Jefferson vocalese.
- "I Cover the Waterfront (Back In Town)" ?
- "Soft and Furry" Jefferson lyrics.
- "A Night In Tunisia" Starts with the original Mignone
lyrics, then off on a wild Jefferson vocalese. (Yes, I know
this is the same comment I used above, but it's true -- this
and 'A' Train are the best cuts on the album, IMO.)
- "Things Are Getting Better" Jefferson lyrics.
- "Keep Walkin'" Jefferson lyrics.
- "Body and Soul (I Feel So Good)" Jefferson vocalese on (I
belive) a James Moody recording. Not at all the
"Body and Soul" The Jazz Singer.
- "Parker's Mood (Bless My Soul)" Jefferson vocalese.
- Come Along With Me (1969)
Bill Hardman -- trumpet
Charles McPherson -- alto sax
Barry Harris -- piano
Gene Taylor -- bass
Bill English -- drums
- "Come Along With Me" (aka "Lester's Trip to the Moon (Paper
Moon)") Miscredited as a Jefferson original here, see above
for real details.
- "Son of a Preacher Man"
- "The Preacher" (aka "A Crazy Romance") Jefferson lyrics.
- "Yardbird Suite" Jefferson vocalese on head of song,
followed by long instrumental solos and some scatting.
- "Dexter Digs In" Jefferson vocalese.
- "Please Leave Me Alone" Jefferson original.
- "Baby Girl" Jefferson original.
- "When You're Smiling"
- Vocal Ease (1999)
This is a compilation of songs from Things Are Getting Better
(TAGB), Still On The Planet(SOTP), and The
Live-Liest(TLL). (While many of the songs here appear on
the earlier albums listed above, these are later recordings.)
- "Freedom Jazz Dance" (TAGB) Jefferson/Harris,
presumably Jefferson lyrics.
- "Zap! Carnivorous" (SOTP) Jefferson vocalese (?)
- "So What" (TLL) See above.
- "I Got The Blues" (SOTP) See above.
- "Bitches Brew" (TAGB) Chris Hall's vocalese on
the Miles Davis tune.
- "Night In Tunisia" (TAGB) As above, except part of
the Jefferson vocalese lyrics are skipped.
- "Keep Walkin'" (SOTP) See above.
- "Ornithology" (SOTP) Jefferson vocalese.
- "Thank You -- Fallettinme Be Mice Elf Agin" (TAGB)
(What the hell is up with the spelling of that title?)
I would have sworn that (at least parts of this) were
Jefferson vocalese, but he's not credited in the liner notes.
- "I Just Got Back In Town" (TAGB) Same as "I Cover
the Waterfront (Back In Town)" above.
- "Sherry" (SOTP) Jefferson vocalese.
- "Billie's Bounce" (TAGB) See above.
- "Things Are Getting Better" (TAGB) See above.
Return to the Vocalese Page.