Charlin Jazz Society's "Eddie Jefferson Lives" at the Ethical Society Saturday night was a fitting tribute to the late bop vocalist who is often referred to as the "godfather" of contemporary jazz-singing.

Vocalist and actor Marion Cowings confessed that as a youngster hanging around backstage at Harlem's Apollo Theatre, he came to admire Jefferson as "the coolest thing in the show." In number after number, Cowings demonstrated that the voice is the first and most versatile of instruments as he ripped off wordless scat at break-neck speed on "Groovin' High," combined vocalese with straight lyrics on a blend of "Ornithology" and its source "How High the Moon," and sang lyrics (some by his own hand) to solos of Bird, Diz and Miles Davis on "Now's the Time," "Night in Tunisia" and other classics.

Bonuses of the evening were knockout instrumentals by the fine Gus Simms Quartet featuring Baltimore tenorist Mickey Fields, a terror on his horn; a surprise walk-on with audience-demanded encore by no-nonsense local blues shouter/social commentator Nap Turner (currently at Excalibur); reminiscences by Jefferson friend and producer Joe Fields of Muse Records, and lively solo action by pianist Simms, bassist Tommy Cecil and drummer Harold Mann