July 12, 2024


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Jon Hendricks: Solo in 1963: Photos, Videos

Few singers understood the jazz instrumentalist better than Jon Hendricks. For much of the 1950s, Hendricks built his career on writing savvy lyrics to iconic instrumental solos.


Hendricks was inspired by King Pleasure’s recording of Moody’s Mood for Love in 1952. Over the years, he crafted lyrics for an enormous number of songs, including It’s Sand Man, Two for the Blues, Little Pony, Down for the Double, Stockholm Sweetening and Doodlin’. [Photo above of Jon Hendricks courtesy of Hendricks’s Twitter page]

During the 1950s, Hendricks was a member of the Dave Lambert Singers and then Lambert, Hendricks and Ross—groups that provided jazz listeners with sophisticated vocals more soulful and hipper than the pop vocal groups of the time. Then in 1963, a year after Annie Ross left Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and Yolande Bavan replaced her, Hendricks recorded two superb albums as a soloist that are all but forgotten today.

The first was Recorded in Person at the Trident for Smash, a subsidiary of Mercury. The album was taped over a series of nights at the famed Sausalito, Ca., club. Hendricks was backed by Noel Jewkes (ts), Flip Nuñez (p), Fred Marshall (b) and Jerry Granelli (d)—a tight, swinging house band. The tracks featured a spirited This Could Be the Start of Something Big (the same arrangement from the Basin Street East album from a year earlier with Bavan and Lambert), Watermelon Man, a gorgeous Old Folks, Gimme That Wine, One Rose, Cloudburst, Shiny Stockings, Yeh Yeh, I Wonder What Became of Sally (a dud that shouldn’t have made the album’s final cut), Stockholm Sweetnin’and Jon’s Mumbles.

Hendricks’s second standout solo album of ’63 was  ¡Salud! João Gilberto, Originator of the Bossa Nova. Recorded in Los Angeles for Reprise, Hendricks took on the bossa songbook up until that point. The album billed as a tribute to Gilberto features songs byothers made famous by Gilberto on his recordings.

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Hendricks was backed by Gildo Mahones (p), George Tucker (b) and Jimmie Smith (d)—with the following musicians added on different tracks: Conte Candoli (tp) or Pete Candoli (tp), Milt Bernhart (tb), Buddy Collette (fl), Ray Sherman (org), Frank Messina (accor) and a six-piece string section. Arrangements were by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Johnny Mandel, Walter Wanderley and John Carisi.

The tracks are O Pato, Corcovado, You and I, Love in Peace, Little Paper Ball, Longing for Bahia, Little Train of Iron, No More Blues, a beautiful Rosa Morena, The Most Beautiful Thing, Samba of my Land, Outra Vez and Nat Adderley’s Jive Samba. Hendricks has a lyricist credit on O Pato, Love in Peace, Little Paper Ball, Longing for Bahia, Little Train of Iron, No More Blues, Rosa Moreno, The Most Beautiful Thing, Samba of My Land, Once Again and Jive Samba.

Overall, the album was beautifully arranged, and Hendricks’s voice sails through the material, embracing the beauty of the melodies without embellishing much. We even have Hendricks whistling along with the melody of You and I and on the introduction to Rosa Moreno.

Jon Hendricks died in 2017.


Rosa Moreno

Bonus: Lambert, Hendricks and Bavan on Ralph J. Gleason’s San Francisco TV show Jazz Casual in February 1963…

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