An actual chameleon (my son Miles’ fave animal, next to armadillos). I recorded this track months ago and didn’t realize until now that I never took a pic of the label.
“Listen – Eddie Jefferson – Chameleon – MP3″
Greetings all. Here we are at the beginning of yet another week. Today I bring you something tasty by one of the greats of jazz vocal, Mr. Eddie Jefferson. Often cited as the father of vocalese (applying lyrics to jazz solos), Jefferson recorded several albums during the 50s and 60s for Riverside, and in the 70s for Muse. Jefferson – like many great singers – may not have had what you would consider a classically fine voice, but he was expressive and inventive, and always right on the groove. Though he started during the bop era, he always managed to stay hip and current, as can be evidenced in his 1968 version of Horace Silver’s ‘Psychedelic Sally’, the 45 of which changes hands amongst crate diggers for several hundred dollars*. Jefferson spent much of the 70s working with Trenton NJ’s own, saxophonist Richie Cole. The tune I bring you today is from one of his last albums, 1976s ‘Still On the Planet’. Jefferson’s vocalese-ation of Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon”** is a great bit of jazz funk, with Jefferson in rare form, aided by his band (led by Cole). Sadly, only a few years after this album, while exiting a club in Detroit (with Cole at his side), Jefferson was shot and killed. He was only 61. I hope you dig the tune.
PS I have a guest mix dropping Tuesday over at Hook and Sling. Make sure you fall by their site and check it out (as well as their own excellent mixes).
*I don’t know if this is the rarest Prestige 45, but it has to be in the top five. I’ve never scored a copy myself, but a friend of mine scored one while we were out digging once (lucky bastard…)
**You can hear a another cool version of ‘Chameleon’ by Buddy Rich in Funky16Corners Radio v.46 – Listen Here