Monday, 11 July 2011

Annie Ross

Annie Ross (born 25 July 1930, Mitcham, London, England) is a British jazz singer and actress, best known as a member of the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.

She was born as Annabelle McCauley Allan Short, in Mitcham, London, the daughter of Scottish vaudevillian parents Jack Short and May Dalziel Short (née Allan). She was brought up in Los Angeles, California by her aunt, singer Ella Logan. Her brother was Scottish entertainer Jimmy Logan.

Ross is one of the early practitioners of a singing style known as vocalese, which involves the setting of original lyrics to an instrumental jazz solo. Her 1952 treatment of saxophonist Wardell Gray's "Twisted" is a classic example of vocalese. "Twisted" has been recorded by Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, Maria Friedman, and many others. Her first album, Singin' and Swingin' (1952) was recorded in New York with members of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Other albums include Annie By Candlelight (1956), Sings A Song With Mulligan (1958) with baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker on trumpet, A Gasser! (1959) with Zoot Sims, In Hoagland (1981) with Georgie Fame and Hoagy Carmichael, and Music Is Forever (1995) featuring Tommy Flanagan on piano.

In February 1956, the British music magazine, NME reported that Ross's song "I Want You to be My Baby" was banned by the BBC, due to the lyric, "Come upstairs and have some loving".

She recorded seven albums with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross between 1957 and 1962. Their first, Sing a Song of Basie (1957), was to have been performed by a group of singers hired by Jon Hendricks and Dave Lambert with Ross brought in only as vocal consultant. When the first two tracks were recorded and deemed unsatisfactory, it was decided that the trio should attempt recording the material and overdub all the additional vocals themselves. The resulting album was a success, and the trio became an international hit. Over the next five years, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross toured all over the world and recorded such albums as Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross! (aka The Hottest New Group In Jazz, 1959), Sing Ellington (1960), High Flying (1962), and The Real Ambassadors (1962), written by Dave Brubeck and featuring Louis Armstrong and Carmen McRae.

Ross left the group in 1962 and, in 1964, opened her own nightclub in London. Annie's Room featured performances by Joe Williams, Stuff Smith, Blossom Dearie, Anita O'Day, Jon Hendricks, and Erroll Garner, as well as Ross herself. A compilation album of Ross' 1965 performances from Annie's Room, was released on CD in 2006.

Ross is also an accomplished actress and has appeared in a number of films. As a child, she sang "Loch Lomond" in Our Gang Follies of 1938 and later played Judy Garland's sister in Presenting Lily Mars (1943). Other notable roles include Vera Webster in Superman III (1983), Mrs. Hazeltine in Throw Momma from the Train (1987), Loretta Cresswood in Pump Up the Volume (1990), Lydia in Blue Sky (1994), and most notably as Tess Trainer in Robert Altman's Short Cuts (1993). She also provided the speaking voice for Britt Ekland's part in The Wicker Man (1973). On stage, Ross appeared in Cranks (1955) in both London and New York, The Threepenny Opera (1972) with Vanessa Redgrave, The Seven Deadly Sins at The Royal Opera House, Kennedy's Children (1975) at Arts Theatre, London, Side By Side By Sondheim, and in the Joe Papp production of The Pirates of Penzance (1982) with Tim Curry.

In the early 1990s, Ross starred in the horror films Basket Case 2 and Basket Case 3: The Progeny.

Annie has been the recipient of many awards and honors including the ASCAP Jazz Wall Of Fame (2009), the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters Award (2010), and the MAC Award for Lifetime Achievement (2011).

Ross performs regularly at The Metropolitan Room (34 W. 22nd Street) in New York, with Tardo Hammer on piano, Neal Miner on bass, Tony Jefferson on drums, and Warren Vache on trumpet.

 Sings a Song of Mulligan - Annie Ross (January 1, 1959)

01 I Feel Pretty 
02 I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face    

03 All Of You  
04 Give Me The Simple Life 
05 This Is Always 
06 My Old Flame 
07 This Time The Dream's On Me 
08 Let Ther Be Love 
09 Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea    
10 How About You 
11 I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan 
12 This Is Always 
13 It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) 
14 The Lady's In Love With You 
15 You Turned The Tables On Me  
16 I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face 

Annie Ross (Vocals),
Chet Baker (Trumpet),
Henry Grimes (Bass),
Gerry Mulligan (Sax (Baritone)),
Dave Bailey (Drums)

Singer Annie Ross' first solo album after joining Lambert, Hendricks & Ross finds her at the peak of her powers. Ross is joined by two versions of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with either Chet Baker or Art Farmer on trumpet, Bill Crow or Henry Grimes on bass, and drummer Dave Bailey. For this CD reissue, there are also five previously unissued selections and one that was originally on a sampler. Annie Ross is at her best (and most appealing) on "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face," "Give Me the Simple Life," "How About You," and "The Lady's in Love With You," but all 16 selections are quite rewarding and her interplay with baritonist Mulligan is consistently memorable. This CD is a must-have for your essential jazz collections. (Scott Yanow, AMG)

Track Picks: "Give Me the Simple Life," "I Feel Pretty," "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"

Track 1-5: Recorded December 1957, NYC
Track 7-10, 13: Recorded 11 and 17 December 1957, NYC
Track 14: Recorded 17 December 1957, NYC
Track 6, 11, 12, 15, 16: previously unreleased (available only on CD of Pacific Jazz / EMI Manhattan CDP 7 46852 2)


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