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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Swan Blues - King Pleasure

King Pleasure (March 24, 1922 - March 21, 1981) was a jazz vocalist and an early master of vocalese, where a singer sings words to a famous instrumental solo. Born as Clarence Beeks in Oakdale, Tennessee, he moved to New York City in the mid-1940s and became a fan of bebop music. King Pleasure first achieved popularity by singing the Eddie Jefferson vocalese classic "Moody's Mood for Love," based on a James Moody saxophone solo to "I'm in the Mood for Love" in 1949. Pleasure's recording in 1952 is considered a jazz classic. The female vocalist is Blossom Dearie. He and Betty Carter also recorded a famous vocalese version of "Red Top," a jazz classic penned by Kansas Citian Ben Kynard and recorded by Gene Ammons and others. Other notable recordings include a presciently elegiac version of "Parker's Mood", the year before Charlie Parker died in 1955, and Pleasure's take on Ammons's "Hittin' the Jug", retitled as "Swan Blues". Pleasure has been cited as a significant influence by Van Morrison, especially on his album Astral Weeks. Genya Ravan, drawing big inspiration for her singing from King Pleasure, recorded "Moody's Mood For Love" with James Moody on her 1972 CBS album Genya Ravan.

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1 comment:

  1. I love this Gene Ammons tune soooooooooooooo much and I did not know King Pleasure wrote a vocalese for it.I'm gonna learn it. Thanks for posting.