Jeanne Lee – Ran Blake 1963


something's coming (L. Bernstein – S. Sondheim)
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Jeanne Lee | Ran Blake

The internet is amazing. take it away if you must, but leave the jazz videos, eh?

Jeanne Lee left the mortal coil at the too young age of 61 in 2000. I object to the Wikipedia’s description, ‘she was one of the foremost exponents of free jazz in the vocal application,’ (but I also don’t like the term free jazz much at all.) I have no idea where the wikipedian got the idea a fuzzy informal term could cover the taut and extremely focused inventiveness Jeanne Lee expressed right from the beginning of her career.

In the early sixties Ms. Lee, Sheila Jordan, Abby Lincoln, and Helen Merrill, (and a little later Betty Carter,) all strove to break through out of the Lady Day-Sassy-Ella-Chris Connor models. They went forth differently and succeeded too. They did free jazz singing from those heavy duty antecedents. But, there’s no cogent answer to the question, ‘what makes Jeanne Lee a free jazz singer?’

She sang freely. Hers was the most ambitious experiment of them all.