Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Grant, Barry. "Purple Passages or Fiestas in Blue?: Notes Toward an Aesthetic of Vocalese." In Representing Jazz, ed. Krin Gabbard, 285-303. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.

Vocalese, as referred to in jazz, is the name for a vocal composition created by setting newly composed lyrics to music taken from existing recordings of jazz instrumental music, including the improvised solos. The resulting compositions often require a high degree of vocal virtuosity because the singer is performing music that is not idiomatic for the voice. This practice, which began in the early 1950s and remains popular today, has been unjustly marginalized by most jazz critics, mainly because it does not involve improvisation. Some examples of vocalese are Eddie Jefferson's 1952 Moody's Mood for Love, based on James Moody's I'm in the Mood for Love, Jefferson's version of Charlie Parker's Now's the Time, Jefferson's version of Dizzy Gillespie's Night in Tunisia, and John Hendrick's version of Gillespie's Night in Tunisia.

Works: Jefferson: Moody's Mood for Love (292-94).

Sources: Moody: I'm In the Mood for Love (292-94); Parker: Now's the Time (291); Gillespie: Night in Tunisia (292-93).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Jazz

Contributed by: Scott Grieb

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