Vocalese is a form of appreciation of the solo performances of a Jazz composition incorporating vocals. This music style has a root word “vocal”. It is actually lyrics of a melody which was originally part of an all instrumental composition or improvisation. Jazz critic Leonard Feather used this term to explain the song of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross album entitled “Sing a Song Basie.” He explained that the overdubbing of the song was using the voice of the three singers to replace the entire horn section of Count Basie Orchestra.
So, based on this explanation we can see the difference with scatting. Scat itself is a singing improvisation which incorporates nonsense syllable. An example of which is “doo wap ba dee do wap”. Try to sing the syllables using swing to get an idea of the style.
But when we are speaking about this style, it is all an arranged lyrics which become a song. This style is originally developed by Eddie Jefferson. He used the tune of Coleman Hawkins entitled “Body and Soul”.
Now, please listen to the tune played by Coleman Hawkins.
And now listen how Eddie come up with the lyrics and put his twist in the “Body and Soul”
Pioneers of this genre would include names such as King Pleasures and Bab Gonzales. The group incorporating this style back in those days was the Lambert, Hendricks and Ross which was had members who were John Hendricks, Dave Lambert, and Annie Ross. Other performer of this style include Bob Dorough, Giancomo Gates, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau, Mark Murphy, Roger Miller, Manhattan Transfer, and Take6.
There are also performers who incorporate vocalese and scatt altogether such as Slim Gaillard, Harry Gibson, Cab Calloway and Leo Watson.
Starting from the 1980s the vocalese has moved on into a new level based on skills and arrangement. Groups which are later identical to acapella arose such as the New York Voices and Basix. Starting from the 1980s this style of music has moved on into a new level based on skills and arrangement. Groups which are later identical to acapella arose such as the New York Voices and Basix.
As music develops allover the world, vocalese is no longer dominated by Jazz. Many music genres used this style to articulate their creativity.