Jon Hendricks
For the Australian swimmer, see Jon Henricks
Jon Henricks
John Malcolm Henricks started his swimming career as a distance swimmer, scoring his first real successes in 1952 when he came in 3rd in the Australian 1500 meters, 2nd in the 800, and won the 400 meters. The distance work proved too arduous, perhaps due to a prolonged ear infection that kept...

Jon Hendricks (born September 16, 1921) is an American jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

A lyricist is a songwriter who specializes in lyrics. A singer who writes the lyrics to songs is a singer-lyricist. This differentiates from a singer-composer, who composes the song's melody.-Collaboration:...

 and singer. He is considered one of the originators of 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...

, which adds lyrics to existing instrumental songs and replaces many instruments with vocalists (such as the big band arrangements of Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

 and Count Basie
Count Basie
William "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. Basie led his jazz orchestra almost continuously for nearly 50 years...

). Furthermore, he is considered one of the best practitioners of scat singing
Scat singing
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice.- Structure and syllable choice...

, which involves vocal jazz soloing. For his work as a lyricist, jazz critic and historian Leonard Feather
Leonard Feather
Leonard Geoffrey Feather was a British-born jazz pianist, composer, and producer who was best known for his music journalism and other writing.-Biography:...

 called him the "Poet Laureate of Jazz" while Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

dubbed him the "James Joyce of Jive." Al Jarreau
Al Jarreau
Alwin "Al" Lopez Jarreau is a seven-time Grammy Award winning jazz singer.- Background :Jarreau was born in Milwaukee, the fifth of six children. His web site refers to Reservoir, Inc., the name of the street where he lived. His father was a Seventh-Day Adventist Church minister and singer, and...

 has called him "pound-for-pound the best jazz singer on the planet—maybe that's ever been".

Born in 1921 in Newark, Ohio
Newark, Ohio
In addition, the remains of a road leading south from the Octagon have been documented and explored. It was first surveyed in the 19th century, when its walls were more apparent. Called the Great Hopewell Road, it may extend to the Hopewell complex at Chillicothe, Ohio...

, young Jon and his 14 siblings were moved many times, following their father's assignments as an A.M.E.
African Methodist Episcopal Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church, is a predominantly African American Methodist denomination based in the United States. It was founded by the Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816 from several black Methodist congregations in the...

 pastor, before settling permanently in Toledo
Toledo, Ohio
Toledo is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the State of Michigan...

. As a teenager, Jon's first interest was in the drums, but before long he was singing on the radio regularly with another Toledo native, pianist Art Tatum
Art Tatum
Arthur "Art" Tatum, Jr. was an American jazz pianist and virtuoso who played with phenomenal facility despite being nearly blind.Tatum is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time...



After serving in the Army during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Hendricks went home to attend University of Toledo
University of Toledo
The University of Toledo is a public university in Toledo, Ohio, United States. The Carnegie Foundation classified the university as "Doctoral/Research Extensive."-National recognition:...

 as a pre-law major, courtesy of the G.I. Bill. Just when he was about to enter the graduate law program, the G.I. benefits ran out, and he realized he would have to chart a different course. Recalling that Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Charles Parker, Jr. , famously called Bird or Yardbird, was an American jazz saxophonist and composer....

 had, at a stop in Toledo two years prior, encouraged him to come to New York and look him up, Hendricks moved there and began his singing career.

Lambert, Hendricks and Ross

In 1957, he teamed with Dave Lambert
Dave Lambert
David Alden Lambert , was an American jazz lyricist, singer, and an originator of vocalese. He was best known as a member of the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. Lambert spent a lifetime experimenting with the human voice, and expanding the possibilities of its use within jazz.Lambert's band debut...

 and Annie Ross
Annie Ross
Annie Ross is an English jazz singer, and actress, best known as a member of the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.-Early years:...

 to form the legendary vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross were a vocalese trio formed by jazz vocalists Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross.-History:The group formed in 1957 and recorded their first album Sing a Song of Basie for Paramount Records...

. With Jon as lyricist, the trio perfected the art of vocalese and took it around the world, earning them the designation of the "Number One Vocal Group in the World" for five years in a row from Melody Maker magazine. After six years the trio disbanded for solo careers but not before leaving behind a catalog of legendary recordings, most of which have never gone out of print. Countless singers cite the work of LH&R as an influence, including Van Morrison
Van Morrison
Van Morrison, OBE is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician. His live performances at their best are regarded as transcendental and inspired; while some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance, and the live album It's Too Late to Stop Now, are widely...

, Al Jarreau
Al Jarreau
Alwin "Al" Lopez Jarreau is a seven-time Grammy Award winning jazz singer.- Background :Jarreau was born in Milwaukee, the fifth of six children. His web site refers to Reservoir, Inc., the name of the street where he lived. His father was a Seventh-Day Adventist Church minister and singer, and...

 and Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin
Robert "Bobby" McFerrin, Jr. is an American vocalist and conductor. He is best known for his 1988 hit song "Don't Worry, Be Happy". He is a ten-time Grammy Award winner.-Life:...

. The song "Yeh Yeh
Yeh Yeh
"Yeh Yeh" is a Latin soul tune that was written as an instrumental by Rodgers Grant and Pat Patrick and first recorded by Mongo Santamaría on his 1963 album Watermelon Man . Lyrics were written for it shortly thereafter by Jon Hendricks of the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. This version of...

", for which Hendricks composed the lyrics, became a 1965 hit for British R&B-jazz singer Georgie Fame
Georgie Fame
Georgie Fame is a British rhythm and blues and jazz singer and keyboard player. The one-time rock and roll tour musician, who had a string of 1960s hits, is still a popular performer, often working with contemporaries such as Van Morrison and Bill Wyman.-Early life:Fame took piano lessons from the...

, who continues to record and perform Lambert, Hendricks & Ross compositions to this day. In 1966 Hendricks recorded "Fire in the City" with the Warlocks, who shortly after changed their name to the Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock, and for live performances of long...


In 1978 he created and starred in a play at the Westwood Playhouse in Los Angeles titled "Evolution of the Blues," which was produced by attorneys Burton Marks and Mark Green.


Pursuing a solo career, Hendricks moved his young family to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, in 1968, partly so that his five children could receive a better education. While based in London he toured Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, performed frequently on British television and appeared in the British film Jazz Is Our Religion as well as the French film Hommage a Cole Porter. His sold-out club dates drew fans such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Five years later the Hendricks family settled in Mill Valley, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 where Hendricks worked as the jazz critic for the San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

and taught classes at California State University
California State University
The California State University is a public university system in the state of California. It is one of three public higher education systems in the state, the other two being the University of California system and the California Community College system. It is incorporated as The Trustees of the...

 at Sonoma and the University of California
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

 at Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

. A piece he wrote for the stage about the history of jazz, Evolution of the Blues, ran for five years at the Off-Broadway Theatre in San Francisco and another year in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

. His television documentary, Somewhere to Lay My Weary Head, received Emmy, Iris and Peabody
Peabody Award
The George Foster Peabody Awards recognize distinguished and meritorious public service by radio and television stations, networks, producing organizations and individuals. In 1939, the National Association of Broadcasters formed a committee to recognize outstanding achievement in radio broadcasting...


Hendricks recorded several critically acclaimed albums on his own, some with his wife Judith and daughters Michele and Aria contributing. He collaborated with old friends The Manhattan Transfer
The Manhattan Transfer
The Manhattan Transfer is an American vocal music group. There have been two manifestations of the group, with Tim Hauser being the only person to be part of both...

 for their seminal 1985 album, Vocalese, which won seven Grammy Awards. He's served on the Kennedy Center Honors committee under Presidents Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, and Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...


In 2000 Hendricks returned to his hometown to teach at the University of Toledo
University of Toledo
The University of Toledo is a public university in Toledo, Ohio, United States. The Carnegie Foundation classified the university as "Doctoral/Research Extensive."-National recognition:...

 where he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Jazz Studies and received an honorary Doctorate of the Performing Arts. He taught Brandon Wilkins and Paul Okafor. He was recently selected to be the first American jazz artist to lecture at the Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

 in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. His 15-voice group, the Jon Hendricks Vocalstra at the University of Toledo, performed at the Sorbonne in 2002. Hendricks has also written lyrics to some classical pieces including "On the Trail" from Ferde Grofe
Ferde Grofé
Ferde Grofé was a prominent American composer, arranger and pianist. During the 1920s and 1930s, he went by the name Ferdie Grofé.-Early life:...

's Grand Canyon Suite
Grand Canyon Suite
The Grand Canyon Suite is a suite for orchestra by Ferde Grofé, composed during the period from 1929 to 1931. It consists of five parts or movements, each an evocation in tone of a particular scene typical of the Grand Canyon...

. The Vocalstra premiered a vocalese version of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" with the Toledo Symphony.

In the summer of 2003 Hendricks went on tour with the "Four Brothers", a quartet consisting of Hendricks, Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling
Kurt Elling is an American jazz vocalist, composer, lyricist and vocalese performer. Born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Rockford, Elling first became interested in music through his father, who was Kapellmeister at a Lutheran church...

, Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy (singer)
Mark Murphy is an American jazz singer based in New York. He is most noted for his definitive and unique vocalese and vocal improvisations with both melody and lyrics...

 and Kevin Mahogany
Kevin Mahogany
Kevin Mahogany is an American jazz vocalist who became prominent in the 1990s. He is known for his scat singing, and his singing style has been compared with jazz singers Joe Williams and Johnny Hartman....

. He has worked on setting words to and arranging Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto as well as on two books, teaching and touring with his Vocalstra. He has also appeared in a film with Al Pacino
Al Pacino
Alfredo James "Al" Pacino is an American film and stage actor and director. He is famous for playing mobsters, including Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy, Tony Montana in Scarface, Alphonse "Big Boy" Caprice in Dick Tracy and Carlito Brigante in Carlito's Way, though he has also appeared...

, People I Know
People I Know
People I Know is a 2002 crime drama film directed by Daniel Algrant and stars Al Pacino, Kim Basinger, and Téa Leoni.-Plot:Eli Wurman is a Jewish publicist on the out, but all he knows is how to hustle and cajole, threaten and persuade. The hazy mania of his everyday life is fuelled by a steady...

as well as White Men Can't Jump
White Men Can't Jump
White Men Can't Jump is a 1992 American sports comedy drama film starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes as streetball hustlers, co-starring Rosie Perez...



  • A Good Git-Together
    A Good Git-Together
    A Good Git-Together is a 1959 studio album by Jon Hendricks. It was Hendricks' first solo album, and featured Cannonball Adderley and Wes Montgomery.-Track listing:# "Everything Started in the House of the Lord" – 1:03...

    (1959, Pacific Jazz)
  • Evolution of the Blues Song (1960, Columbia Records)
  • Fast Livin' Blues (1961, Columbia)
  • Jon Hendricks Recorded in Person at the Trident (1963, Smash Records)
  • ¡Salud! João Gilberto, Originator of the Bossa Nova
    ¡Salud! João Gilberto, Originator of the Bossa Nova
    -Personnel:* Jon Hendricks – vocals, liner notes* Frank Messina – accordion* Johnny Carisi – adaptation* Johnny Mandel* Jimmie Smith – drums* Buddy Collette – flute* Leonard Feather – liner notes* Ray Sherman – organ...

    (1963, Reprise Records
    Reprise Records
    Reprise Records is an American record label, founded in 1960 by Frank Sinatra. It is owned by Warner Music Group, and operated through Warner Bros. Records.-Beginnings:...

  • Cloudburst (1972, live, Enja Records)
  • Tell Me the Truth (1975, BMG Records)
  • September Songs (1976, Stanyan Records)
  • Love (1982, Muse Records)
  • Freddie Freeloader
    Freddie Freeloader (album)
    Freddie Freeloader is a 1990 studio album by Jon Hendricks. -Track listing:#"Jumpin' at the Woodside" – 3:31#"In Summer" – 5:48#"Freddie Freeloader" – 9:09...

    (1990, Denon Records
    Denon Records
    Denon Records was a Japanese record label owned by Denon, distributed by A&M Records from 1990 through 1992. This was a reissue program that included 390 jazz and classical music titles that were issued on compact disc.-Artists:*Eliane Elias*Peter Erskine...

  • Boppin' at the Blue Note (1994, live, Telarc Records)

Appears on
  • George Russell - New York, N.Y.
    New York, N.Y. (album)
    New York, N.Y. is an album by George Russell originally released on Decca in 1959. The album contains tracks conducted and arranged by Russell performed by Art Farmer, Doc Severinson, Ernie Royal, Bob Brookmeyer, Frank Rehak, Tom Mitchell, Hal McKusick, John Coltrane, Sol Schlinger, Bill Evans,...

    (1959, Decca)
  • Thelonious Monk
    Thelonious Monk
    Thelonious Sphere Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer considered "one of the giants of American music". Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "Epistrophy", "'Round Midnight", "Blue Monk", "Straight, No Chaser"...

     - Underground
    Underground (Thelonious Monk album)
    Underground is a 1968 album by Thelonious Monk. It features Monk on piano, Larry Gales on bass, Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, and Ben Riley on drums....

    (1968, Columbia)
  • "The Legacy Lives On" (2001, Mack Avenue Records)

with Lambert, Hendricks and Ross
  • Sing a Song of Basie
    Sing a Song of Basie
    Sing a Song of Basie is a 1957 album by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. -Track listing:# "Everyday I Have the Blues" – 5:18# "It's Sand, Man!" – 2:27...

  • Sing Along with Basie (1958, Roulette)
  • The Swingers! (1958)
  • Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross!
    Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross!
    Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross!, also known as The Hottest New Group In Jazz, is an album by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. The CD reissue combines the full original album with the LPs "Lambert, Hendricks & Ross Sing Ellington" and "Rarities".-Disc one:...

    (aka "The Hottest New Group In Jazz") (1960)
  • Lambert, Hendricks & Ross Sing Ellington (1960)
  • The Real Ambassadors
    The Real Ambassadors
    The Real Ambassadors is a jazz musical developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Dave and Iola Brubeck, in collaboration with Louis Armstrong and his band. It addressed the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the music business, America’s place in the world during the Cold War, the nature of God, and...

  • High Flying with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross (aka The Way-Out Voices of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross) (1962)

with Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan
  • Live at Basin Street East (1963, live)
  • At Newport '63 (1963, live)
  • Havin' a Ball at the Village Gate
    Havin' a Ball at the Village Gate
    Havin' a Ball at the Village Gate is an album by Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan, the re-formed vocal group featuring Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks with Yolande Bavan after Annie Ross left the group in 1962...

    (aka Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan at the Village Gate) (1964, live)

External links

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