Sometimes my ideas for stories on the ol’ GMC just naturally flow from earlier posts because so many artists have connections to others. In a way, I guess it’s sort of a musical version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon — or in this case, Blossom Dearie, because when writing about her recently I turned up the fact that she’d at one time collaborated with Annie Ross. And Ross in turn was not only an outstanding singer herself but also a vital part of the legendary jazz vocal trio, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross.
When Ross first began working with Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks in the late 1950s, it didn’t take long for the threesome’s mix of swing vocals and scat solos to attract attention. Fans loved the inventive arrangements and the often unexpected lyrics, and for a few short years the trio was enormously popular and respected, and would provide an inspiration for later groups like the Manhattan Transfer.
But the magic didn’t last. During their years in the spotlight all three members of the group continued working on individual projects, and Ross eventually left the trio in the early 1960s. The others continued for a while with Yolande Bavan taking over Ross’s role, but within a couple of years everyone had gone their own way.