• Vocalese For Hurricane Sandy Relief in Red Bank

    April 3, 2013. Posted by Michael Bourne.

    Two legendary vocal groups, The Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices, joined together with their musical
    godfather Jon Hendricks for an evening of vocalese at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on March 28th.

    I was there, as was WBGO'S John Abbott. The concert was a benefit to help rebuild the music and arts department of St. Rose High School in Belmar, alma mater of the Transfer's Tim Hauser.

    michael_the guys
    L-R: Michael Bourne, Alan Paul (TMT), Darmon Meader (NYV), and Peter Eldridge (NYV), photo by George Wirt

    That they were singing at a theatre named for Count Basie was historically meaningful for them all. Jon's most iconic recording was the Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross album "Sing a Song of Basie." Jon wrote all the lyrics for the Transfer's Grammy-winning album "Vocalese" that included tracks with the Count Basie Orchestra. NYV also won a Grammy for an album with the CBO.

    Photo by John Abbott
     The Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices together, photo by George Wirt

    Highlights of the concert in Basie's hometown included a friendly vocal battle of the sexes with the four girls singing "Charleston Alley" and the four boys singing "Caravan" in the style of the Mills Brothers. Jon, lively as ever at 92, inspired them all in their musical careers and lives. Jon joined them all for a climactic "Birdland" and an encore of Jon's lyrics to the Ray Charles classic "Rockhouse."

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