Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
John Hendricks, who was once called the James Joyce of jazz for his stream-of-consciousness way of writing lyrics to instrumental pieces, has returned to the Washington area for the first time in more years than he'd like to remember.
When he was last here, Hendricks was a member of the celebrated grooup - Lambert, Hendricks and Ross - that transposed the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker to vocal fare (the technique of applying lyrics to instrumentals was dubbed "vocalese" by critics Leonard Feather in the early 50s).
This time the 55-year-old Hendricks is appearing at the Showboat Lounge in Silver Spring through Sunday with his wife, Judith, and children Michelle and Eric. As a unit, theyu are not as stunning as Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Nevertheless, they provide a refreshing approach to the art of Jazz singing, breathing new life into old tunes.
For example, trhey took Duke Ellington's "In a Mellotone" and demonstrated what it was originally, reliving the solos of John Hodges and Cookie Williams. Judith Hendricks was particularly effective, with her growl tones emulation trumpeter Williams.
Michelle and Eric are fledgling singers. Using her haunting contralto sound, Michelle was especially attractive singing "Little Brown Child." Though less experienced, Eric's supple, rich voice was a joy to hear.