Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Best of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

The Best of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Columbia KC 32911

This was a lesson to me in record company greed.  I picked it up at a garage sale, it was cheap and I thought it would be nice to check out a comp of this trio who I only knew from "Twisted."  When I got home and read the fine print and the liner notes, I realized it was not a comp, but rather a reissue of their 1960 album "The Hottest New Group In Jazz" which boasts a much nicer cover.  I was kind of irked but at least Columbia didn't get any money from me for it and besides all I really wanted was a copy of "Twisted."  I'm not big on jazz vocals, I generally find scatting irritating even with a superb singer like Ella Fitzgerald.  Fortunately there isn't much scatting on this record, aside from "Everybody's Boppin,'" it is pretty firmly rooted in pop vocal tradition, only more swinging.  "Twisted" is a great song.  I first heard it in Joni Mitchell's cover version, but Annie Ross' original is even better, full of sass and wit, a pop classic.   Nothing on this record is as good as "Twisted", but there are other memorable songs, enough to make it more than worthwhile.  "Gimme That Wine" is in a similar vein to "Twisted", it is not as propulsive but it is quite humorous.  I particularly like the bluesy "Moanin'" and the smoldering "Centerpiece."  I enjoy the elaborate arrangement on "Summertime" which makes the old warhorse sound fresh and invigorating.  The vocal pyrotechnics on "Cloudburst" are quite impressive and a clear indication of why people were so impressed by them back in the day.  You don't really have to be a jazz fan to enjoy this record, although it doesn't hurt.  Anyone who appreciates vocal harmonies and quality pop vocals will find much to enjoy on this record.  Recommended to doo-wop fans in search of something a little more sophisticated.

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