jazz · teaching · vocal

Learning from vocalists

The Singers Unlimited
The Singers Unlimited

Yes, you instrumentalist-monkeys, you can:


The main part of the vocal chart is fine (except for the plain-vanilla chords in the ensemble punches) but the neat trick is the rain effect – especially the thunder.

Especially as a jazz musician, I’ve learned a lot from vocalists and vocal groups. I was a real fan of the Singers Unlimited when I was in college, which is just when they were at their peak in the mid-1970s. I think my favorite jazz singer of all time is Mel Torme, though; he attempted things few singers did and he made them sound easy.

Doing a quick search on Singers Unlimited on YouTube, I found this:

An all-male group from Ukraine! The transcription is pretty faithful to Gene Puerling’s vocal chart and Patrick Williams’ brilliant band arrangement, although dropped in tempo and pitch a bit. You never know what you’re going to find on teh intertubes!

The box set of almost all of the work by the Singers Unlimited is still available: http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Voices-Singers-Unlimited/dp/B00000AFFQ It’s worth the $ 120! And pick up the Christmas album as well – it’s gorgeous!

A listing of jazz vocal groups: www.singers.com/jazz/vocaljazz.html

I also have to admit I’ve learned a thing or two over the years from my son-in-law, Matthew Schlesinger, who is an outstanding tenor and choral director in the Chicago area!


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