In 1962, when the popular jazz vocal group of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross became -- overnight -- Lambert, Hendricks & Moss, many fans assumed it was a typographical error. But Moss it was, for Anne Marie Moss had temporarily replaced Annie Ross, who was ill with pneumonia.
Moss' introduction to the three singers had occurred a year or so earlier during a package tour of the states. Moss was with fellow Canadian Maynard Ferguson's band and one day on the bus happened to be sitting next to Ross. Moss was scat singing to herself.
"Gee, I didn't know you did that," said Ross to Moss. "Oh, sure," replied Moss. Scatting and "running the changes" being part and parcel of the trio's attack, Moss got the call to sub for Ross a few months later.
Moss, currently with Armen Donelian at the piano and Steve Novosel on bass, opened Tuesday at Cates, where she'll be performing until Oct. 19. Jon Hendricks, who had just finished his three-week booking there on Saturday, stayed over to catch Moss' opening.
"He called to let me know how to turn off the smoke alarm and to tell me they left all kinds of goodies in the fridge in the apartment where Cates lodges its performers ," says Moss. "It's like a family with somebody going away and somebody else coming in and that's what it was like when I was with Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks, like a family."
The first time Moss sang with Hendricks and the late Dave Lambert was at Washington's Howard Theater, and she remembers it well.
"You have to understand that I was a young girl and I was trying to learn something that had a million lyrics," she says. "Jon and Dave only gave me the tape the day before, and they'd say, 'Everything's going to be fine -- you're a musician and you'll just climb into it.' When I was on stage the memory of the lyrics was as clear as a bell, and when I came off I would forget them."
A versatile vocalist who has worked in the context of big and medium-sized bands, small combos and even symphonies, Moss is busy these days with nightclub work, clinics and concerts on college campuses, and private students in her New York studio. Boasting a four-octave vocal range, she has recorded with many groups during the past quarter century. But Stash Records was the first to release an album under her own name: 1981's "Don't You Know Me?" She has a new album due early next year.
Moss, who was raised in Toronto, was introduced to jazz while sitting on the stairs in her pajamas listening when her older brother put his Nat (King) Cole and Jazz at the Philharmonic records on the turntable. She got her early vocal training -- "from when I was a little girl up to my teens" -- singing in church.
"Count Basie once asked me, 'Where did you get that vocal flexibility?' I said, 'Have you ever heard Gregorian chant?' That's what I was singing in the St. Helen's choir.
"Students come to me and say, 'Will you teach me to scat?' And I say, 'I can't teach you to scat. I could teach you physically, but if you don't have the ears, you just can't, period.' There's a lot of singers that are scatting that I feel like putting my fingers over my ears and walking out of the room.
"I do not object to being an individualist as a vocalist, it's my thing. What I object to is that these young people forget that they can use the lyric as well and just sing beautiful melodies. Instead, they sometimes take them and twist them around into a mass of noise. That's why, when I heard fellow Canadian Jane Siberry, I liked her voice very much and I thought she did some really interesting things. She kept my attention and my attention is very hard to keep."