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Freddie Freeloader (w/Friends)

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 24, 2009
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 24, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Savoy
  • ASIN: B0000034UG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,091 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Rick Cornell VINE VOICE on January 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Jon Hendricks is "The James Joyce of Jive", and nowhere is that label better proven than here. This album is tremendous. The highlights are "Freddie Freeloader", where Hendricks does the Miles Davis' classic from "Kind of Blue" with solos for Al Jarreau, George Benson and himself to sing, copying note-for-note the solos of Miles, Trane and Cannonball; and the set-ender, another note-for-note vocalese recreation of the Benny Goodman version of Louis Prima's "Sing Sing Sing." Hendricks throughout his career has been the preeminent interpreter of Count Basie via original vocalese, and he starts this set with another--a marvelous note-for-note re-creation of "Jumpin' at the Woodside." Hendricks was in his 70's when this album was recorded and released; senior citizens should take note and have hope!
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Format: Audio CD
A wonderful CD, well worth buying for the vocal arrangements of Miles' "Freddie Freeloader" and Monk's "Rhythm a ning" alone. Many of the tracks are very recognizable classics as instrumentals, finely (and finally) remade by Hendricks to lyrics and voice. The one star off is not for Hendricks, but for the sometimes squeeky vocals of Manhattan Transfer singing nearly too high for comfort.
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Format: Audio CD
... I believe the inventor of Vocalese was actually King Pleasure. In any case, I was wholly impressed with Freddie Freeloader...especially the title track. True Jazz Vocalists are a scarce commodity and Jon Hendricks' old but agile vocal cords exemplify the art of vocalese and vocal jazz improvisation. Bobby McFerrin's ethereal falsetto floats with startling presicion over Adderley's piano licks. Enjoyable for beginning jazz fans and purists alike - Swingin.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Eversince I heard Jon Hendricks' reinterpretation of Monk's "Trinkle-Trikle", taped by a friend from the radio airways some 15 years ago, I was predestined to buy this magnificent album.

Hendricks is still in his prime here, flexible and imaginative (with age only adding slightly rougher edge to his already highly expressive voice), leading virtuoso vocal groups (featuring Judith and Aria Hendricks), with some magnificent vocal guests - Al Jareau, Bobby McFerrin and George Benson at their best (The Manhattan Transfer's performance is not as much to my taste; luckily their take on Gil Evans orchestration is the shortest number of this classic album...)

The remarkable instrumental guests on various numbers are also quite impresive, for instance (at the time quite young) trumpet player Wynton Marsalis, but also (anything but young, but still remarkable) trombon player Al Grey, the entire Count Basie's ghost orchestra lead by the great Frank Foster (who also solos on tenor), pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist George Mraz, drummer Jimmy Cobb, tenorist Stanley Turrentine...

The concept of the album is, basically, rearranging the highlights from the history of jazz into vocal and vocal-instrumental extravaganzas, including takes on classical recordings of Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis (his work with Coltrane and Adderley as well as with Gil Evans), with some fine originals and less familiar tunes basically based on one or another aspect of jazz tradition.
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This album is a must for any serious jazz listener. Jon Hendricks doesn't get the credit or a lot of hype out in the mainstream, but he is a legend. “In Summer” would make Sinatra sit down, order a Jack Daniels, light a cigarette, then stare off into the distance, the way only Sinatra can. "Take the 'A' Train" is a festival of acapella and jazz featuring the Manhattan Transfer doing what they do best. "Trinkle Tinkle" and "Listen to Monk" are virtuoso performances that highlight just who Jon Hendricks is and what he does. And then there’s Freddie Freeloader! Are you kidding me? If someone asks what is jazz vocals? What is the point of jazz vocals? All you have to do is play them the original off of Miles’s “Kind of Blue” and then play them this cut! End of story! Enjoy!
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Format: Audio CD
Hendricks is a master, and if I remember correctly, the inventor, of vocalese--the art of taking great jazz instrumental solos, writing appropriate and entertaining lyrics to them, and singing them with finesse. Hendricks performs with an all-star cast of singers he's influenced: among them the Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices. My personal favorites are the title track (with Bobby McFerrin singing Wynton Kelly's piano lines, Al Jarreau singing Miles Davis' trumpet, Hendricks taking on Coltrane's tenor, and George Benson as Cannonball Adderly) and a beautiful, heartfelt rendition of "In Summer." The whole album is great. It's a fulfilling listening experience in itself, and when you go back and listen to the original instrumental pieces, it calls your attention to just how phenomenally good this music is to begin with. Enjoy!
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