(Pizza Express Dean Street. July 1st 2011. Part of Bluesfest London. Review by Kai Hoffman)
What an immense pleasure to see co-inventor of the vocalese, Annie Ross, in the wonderfully intimate setting of Pizza Express Dean St last week. A founding-member of the ground-breaking Lambert, Hendricks & Ross in the late 1950s, her ‘Twisted’ has become part of the standard repertoire, pushing the boundaries of vocal jazz.
With the brilliantly sensitive backing of her New York-based pianist, Tardo Hammer, and UK-based experts Arnie Somogyi, double bass, and Harold Fisher, drums, Annie’s masterful interpretation brought new emphasis to tunes like ‘Bye Bye Blackbird,’ and her signature ‘Twisted’ was performed at a good, fast clip. Her classic Lambert, Hendricks and Ross tune ‘Come On Home’ was heart-felt and direct. ‘Lush Life’ was achingly poignant – and was perfectly balanced by the comic tune ‘One Meatball.’
In spite of having flown in from New York earlier in the day, the eighty-one year old Ross also looked incredibly glamourous, as you would expect from a multi-award-winning legend who has recorded with
the Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, the Count Basie band, Art Farmer, and Gerry Mulligan, to name just a few.