from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Jazz singing genre where the lyrics are written to melodies that were originally parts of an all-instrumental composition or improvisation.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

vocal +‎ -ese


  • She is one of the earliest practitioners of the singing style known as vocalese, in which the singer sets original lyrics, as opposed to the nonsense syllables of scat singing, to an instrumental jazz solo.

    NPR Topics: News

  • They've been together ever since, blending their voices with every musical congregation from the Charlie Ventura orchestra to the New York Philharmonic in a unique brand of harmonic bebop called "vocalese," singing instrumental pieces written by legends like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Clifford Brown.

    Jackie and Roy! They're Still Here! ��� Skip Nurse for Arms of Strangers

  • The 79-year-old Ross, among the early practitioners of "vocalese" on songs like her Home RSS feed

  • Its exalted status was reinforced just last year, in fact, when John Pizzarelli wrote a vocalese version of the 1960 chart, which expands the Ellingtonian palette with boppish overtones.

    Dizzy's Welcomes an Old Friend

  • While "How High the Moon" featured some ingenious original vocalese lyrics in the style of Jon Hendricks, it's in her scat choruses that Ms. Hampton Callaway shows that she'd be better named Ann Torme Fitzgerald.

    Female Leads, Classic Beats, Gil at St. Pete's

  • "Hi Fly" uses the "vocalese" era of the late '50s as a focal point.

    Music With All the Fixings

  • Kurt Elling, LondonUS vocalist Elling's immense influence was recently caught in the Guardian by Jamie Cullum, when he described Elling's "swooning, Sinatra sound combined with an intellect for the words ... he makes vocalese [wordless vocals] look so easy and sound so gentle, like a saxophone".

    This week's new live music

  • He makes vocalese look so easy and sound so gentle, like a saxophone.

    The 10 best jazz musicians

  • He was performing vocalese, the art of performing words over jazz solos, and he was just singing about Ella.

    The 10 best jazz musicians

  • The group, named the Crazy Sounds, initially specialized in vocalese -- a style popularized by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross in which singers put words to jazz melodies and solos -- before it shifted to a rhythm-and-blues style modeled on Sonny Til and the Orioles.

    Harvey Fuqua, singer in doo-wop band the Moonglows, dies at 80


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A specialist jazz variant of vocalise. Vocalese is the setting of lyrics to instrumental solos. Kurt Elling, among others, does this.

    April 6, 2008