Angela Verbrugge • The Night We Couldn’t Say Good Night

Last year I edited a biography of John Hendricks, founding member of multi-award winning vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. Together with Dave Lambert and Annie Ross (later replaced by Yolande Bavan), Hendricks popularized the style of jazz singing called vocalese. He would take instrumental swing and bebop standards by the likes of Count Basie and Charlie Parker, set words to their solos and—with help from his two colleagues—reproduce them in three-part vocal harmony at often head-spinning speeds. Having never really listened to Hendricks, the job prompted me to check out his catalogue. I ended up paying about $30 for the trio’s Sing a Song of Basie on vinyl, so bewitched was I by this breathtakingly nimble, ingeniously poetic style. So opens Angela Verbrugge’s 2019 album The Night We Couldn’t Say Good Night, with her lyrical gymnastics over Ray Gallon’s “I’m Running Late.” Crisp and clear like that of a musical actor, her voice rings like a crystal glass struck with a silver spoon. Like Ross and Bavan, she displays impeccable precision and an impressive range, without the smoky huskiness of tone displayed by the likes of Peggy Lee or Julie London. (I tend to prefer deeper and richer timbres, but that’s obviously a matter of taste.) Born in Ontario, Verbrugge was one of the youngest ever graduates from Toronto’s George Brown School of Performing Arts. Coa
You've read three articles this month! That makes you one of a rare breed, the true jazz fan!

The Syncopated Times is a monthly publication covering traditional jazz, ragtime and swing. We have the best historic content anywhere, and are the only American publication covering artists and bands currently playing Hot Jazz, Vintage Swing, or Ragtime. Our writers are legends themselves, paid to bring you the best coverage possible. Advertising will never be enough to keep these stories coming, we need your SUBSCRIPTION. Get unlimited access for $30 a year or $50 for two.

Not ready to pay for jazz yet? Register a Free Account for two weeks of unlimited access without nags or pop ups.

Already Registered? Log In

If you shouldn't be seeing this because you already logged in try refreshing the page.

Dave Doyle is a swing dancer, dance teacher, and journalist based in Gloucestershire, England. Write him at [email protected]. Find him on Twitter @DaveDoyleComms.

Or look at our Subscription Options.