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Jazz Review
Artist: Jon Hendricks & Annie Ross Reunion
Performance date: January 29, 1999
Publication: New York Post

New York Post; New York; Jan 29, 1999; Chip Deffaa;

Copyright New York Post Corporation Jan 29, 1999

Jazz Review

AN event of rare import is happening this week at the Blue Note. If you can get a seat, the reunion of masterly jazz singers Jon Hendricks (born in 1921) and Annie Ross (born in 1930), after 36 years, is not to be missed.

It is fascinating to witness their patented interweaving vocalese on numbers like "Down for Double," "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and "Come on Home." With the late Dave Lambert, they created the seminal 1950s-'60s vocal group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Their influence has touched groups ranging from Manhattan Transfer to the Pointer Sisters.

If age has created some sense of strain in Hendricks' and Ross' voices, that only seems to add character. The naturalness with which they sing in a style they own, with as deep-rooted a pure-jazz sensibility as that of any musician, is remarkable. Their singing together - even their banter - has an utterly satisfying authenticity, unmatched by any of their imitators.

"It sure is nice to be back, ain't it, Jon?" Ross asked, before a crowd that didn't want to let them go.

"Where have we been?" Hendricks mused. "We took an extended vacation."

"Thirty-six years," Ross noted.

"It feels like 36 minutes," Hendricks said. "Except my kids are grown." And soon they were earnestly "Goin' to Chicago (Sorry But I Can't Take You)." Even on gruff lines - "You're so mean and evil," sang Hendricks, with Ross responding, "My, you're a mean one" - their good cheer warmed the room.

Blue Note, 131 W. 3rd St., (212) 475-8592; $25 cover, two-drink minimum; 9 and 11:30 p.m. Through Sunday.


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