Eddie Jefferson - The Main Man

Eddie Jefferson was the godfather of vocalese and the first to master the art of writing words to the recorded solos of jazz greats. Originally a dancer, Jefferson decided to become a singer after hearing Charlie Parker. He came up with the idea of vocalese as early as 1939 although it took another decade before Jefferson began to sing regularly in public. He wrote “Moody’s Mood For Love” (based on James Moody’s solo on “I’m In The Mood For Love”) which became a hit for King Pleasure. Jefferson also composed vocalese to a couple of dozen other solos, worked along the way with Moody and Richie Cole, and was a popular attraction in addition to becoming an influential force.

The Main Man was recorded in 1977 and serves as a retrospective of his career. Jefferson performs such numbers as “Jeannine,” “Moody's Mood For Love” (with Janet Lawson taking the female vocal), a tribute to Coleman Hawkins on “Body And Soul,” the funny “Benny's From Heaven,” “Summertime” (based on the Miles Davis/Gil Evans recording), and a crazy version of “Freedom Jazz Dance.” This is the Eddie Jefferson record to get first. Throughout every cut, listeners get a strong sampling of his musical genius.

SKU: IC1033

Availability: In stock


If your order is placed before 3:30pm New York Time, this item will ship today! Read more...

Call us now for more info about our products. 914-592-1188

Buy this product and earn special loyalty points!



In 1977, Inner City gathered together a roster of all-star jazz players and took them into a New York Studio to recreate with modern arrangements, some of the classic Eddie Jefferson songs that have become a part of vocal jazz in our times.

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Eddie Jefferson
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor No
SKU IC1033


Customer Reviews (3)

"Splendid Scat!"Review by Big Toots
IC 1033 The Main Man Eddie Jefferson

I’ve always wondered what the late, great vocalist (or should I say “vocaleste?”), Eddie Jefferson would be up to musically if he were still around today. My money from the gig is all on Jefferson, a disciple of Leo Watson and contemporaneous Bopster with “King Pleasure, doing exactly that for which he was known and beloved - spreading his unique gospel of hard swing, “vocalese” and all-around jazz joy.

We get a heaping serving of that testimony on this hard-swinging send up, “The Main Man.” Jefferson is in his Bop glory and so are we as he and a stellar ensemble of stars run us through a baseball team of selections with which Jefferson was and is now associated “(Jeannine,” “Benny’s from Heaven”). The album is a grand slam.

While not possessing a voice of, say an Eckstine, Hartman or Cole (Nat, that is. Richie’s on this date), Jefferson’s wheelhouse was located on the uptempo and very swinging side of the street. He was a chef that simply cooked, had a ball creating unique lyrics to iconic jazz recordings and solos, and lived to swing hard. With the exception of a take on King Pleasure’s mood piece, everything here is hard and fast and Jefferson, working over Slide Hampton’s slick charts is energetic, fiery and ever so nimble (“Confirmation,” Freedom Jazz Dance”). If one thinks that scatting or creating “vocalese” is elementary school fool music, try it. Jefferson has all of the swing and rhythmic variety and tonal inflection of that of the soloist he mimes.

“Alto Madness” mavin and long-time Jefferson partner, Richie Cole is a delight, whipping off solo after solo with avian flair. Tenor man, Junior Cook lives up to his name and does. The rhythm section of the very underrated pianist, Harold Mabern, drummer, Billy Hart, and percussionists Azzendin Weston and Harold White crack the whip on this runaway stagecoach.

There is a current campaign to change the presidential image on various U.S. currency. After hearing this superb album, you’ll think they have the wrong Jefferson on the twenty.
(Posted on 5/24/2015)
The Main ManReview by Simon Sez
When it came to singing and writing vocalese, Eddie Jefferson was definitely “the main man.” He practically invented the idea of writing lyrics to recorded solos, and while his voice was just okay, he was innovative in his singing. Not too many vocalists could sing as fast as he could when singing a saxophone solo.

The Main Man was Eddie Jefferson’s last recording and it brings back many of the best moments of his career. Whether it is “Moody’s Mood For Love,” “Benny’s From Heaven,” “Summertime” or “Jeannine,” Jefferson shows that he went out on top, and with many accomplishments.

Simon Sez: Eddie Jefferson’s The Main Man (IC1033) was his last recording and it really sums up his career very well. Get it! (Posted on 5/6/2014)
Review by Michael G.
Eddie Jefferson's final recording before his tragic death is a tour de force session that showcases a love for big-band type horn sections, his indefatigable ability to scat and write original vocalese lyrics, and his enthusiasm for life.
After being out of print for many decades, The Main Man is finally available, and stands as a shining testament to perhaps the last truly great and innovative jazz singer in the modern era. (Posted on 6/14/2013)

Write Your Own Review

You're reviewing: Eddie Jefferson - The Main Man

How do you rate this product? *

  1 star 2 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars



Use spaces to separate tags. Use single quotes (') for phrases.

%s1 / %s2