Lambert, Hendricks and Ross
Twelve out of fifteen of the tracks on this album are highlights (I exclude only ‘Moanin’’, ‘Summertime’ and ‘Midnight Indigo’, which are all OK), and the overwhelming mood is joy, with the notable exception of ‘Blue’, which would play well at a funeral. It is really hard to decide who is best out of Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross: Hendricks is obviously the brains of the outfit whose presence dominates throughout, but Ross swings so hard on both the hilariously sexist ‘Home Cookin’’ and the more sober ‘Come on Home’ that she has to win. That said, the goofy voice of Dave Lambert is often the most fun to listen to, especially on the opener ‘Charleston Alley’. There are memorable moments from start to finish on this supreme example of vocalese; I once listened to it so much that I rarely want to anymore, but whenever I do it still sounds just as good. Check out Ross’s squeaks on the title track.