Lambert, Hendricks and Ross: Blue
Lambert, Hendricks and Ross
Everybody's Boppin' (Sony 724692)
Composed by Gildo Mahones.
Recorded: Chicago, IL, March 13, 1961
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
In their six years together (1957-1962), Lambert, Hendricks and Ross were best known for their vocalese/scat performances of classic jazz instrumentals, with Hendricks providing the hip lyrics and Lambert the intricate arrangements. Ross's powerful, infinitely flexible voice was the clincher, providing a depth and virtuosity that Hendricks' and Lambert's more than adequate but unexceptional voices could not by their nature provide. "Blue," written by L,H, & R's regular accompanying pianist Gildo Mahones, had no previous track record prior to the group's development and treatment of it, and thus did not get the kind of exposure and recognition that so many of their "hits" received. But what an exceptional showcase "Blue" was for the transcendent Annie Ross. (Released first on the 1961 album High Flying with Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, the track is now available on the compilation Everybody's Boppin'.)
Composer Mahones appears to play only the harpsichord throughout this piece. His ethereal intro perfectly sets the mood for Ross's serenely mournful vocal. "Each evening...comes a feeling, such a lonely feeling." Lambert and Hendricks harmonize compassionately in the lower register behind her, before joining Ross to sing the next batch of lyrics together, with a gentle resignation: "Blue and wrapped up in sorrow / Blue like there's no tomorrow." Ross concludes solo, skillfully modulating three times through the phrase "I'm blue." The melody is haunting, and thus it's no wonder that Hendricks chose to put into words the sensation it instills. "Blue" indeed, and a bit reminiscent of "Mood Indigo."
Reviewer: Scott Albin