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Eddie Jefferson

The founder of vocalese (putting recorded solos to words), Eddie Jefferson did not have a great voice, but he was one of the top jazz singers, getting the maximum out of what he had. He started out working as a tap dancer, but by the late '40s was singing and writing lyrics. A live session from 1949 (released on Spotlite) finds him pioneering vocalese by singing his lyrics to "Parker's Mood" and Lester Young's solo on "I Cover the Waterfront." However, his classic lyrics to "Moody's Mood for Love" were recorded first by King Pleasure (1952), who also had a big hit with his version of "Parker's Mood." Jefferson had his first studio recording that year (which included Coleman Hawkins' solo on "Body and Soul"), before working with James Moody (1953-1957). Although he recorded on an occasional basis in the 1950s and '60s, his contributions to the idiom seemed to be mostly overlooked until the 1970s. Jefferson worked with Moody again (1968-1973), and during his last few years often performed with Richie Cole. He was shot to death outside of a Detroit club in 1979. Eddie Jefferson, who also wrote memorable lyrics to "Jeannine," "Lady Be Good," "So What," "Freedom Jazz Dance," and even "B**ches' Brew," recorded for Savoy, Prestige, a single for Checker, Inner City, and Muse; his final sides appeared in 1999 under the title Vocal Ease. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
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Comments

I was going to go to his Baker's Keyboard Lounge gig on Tuesday, the second night of his stand..... There was no second night.... RIP Eddie.
rankiinmrb
Adding lyrics to recorded solos is something not everyone can do. It shows the genius of Eddie J. He truly was ahead of his time.
nquashie60
His rendition of Moody's Mood for Love and Body and Soul are brilliant. They made me do more research on James Moody and Coleman Hawkins. Also check out Manhattans Transfer's tribute to Hawk. "Don't you know he was the king of saxiphone... y e s indeed he was...talkin bout the man who made it sound so good...." timeless!
Eddie has always been one of my favorite jazz singers I love his work.
Had the pleasure of meeting this artist in 1976...loved his performance at a little joint in NYC called The Tin Palace....hi s spirit lives on...like many artists was worthy of more recognition. . . .
Eddie Jefferson's lyrical contribution s to the Jazz idiom never received the accolades, comparable to the lauded lyricst of popular music.

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