Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Annie Ross: Let Me Sing

Even with scratches, dents and a whole lot of miles on the odometer, a Rolls Royce is still a Rolls Royce. At age 75, Annie Ross no longer hugs the vocal curves like she incomparably did back in the days of Lambert and Hendricks, nor is the ride anywhere near as wild or, um, twisted. The valves are a bit sticky and the high beams have dimmed; but wrap her in velvet arrangements, lovingly accented by Warren Vache’s soft-burnished horn work and Bucky Pizzarelli’s tender guitar, and she still purrs like a vintage Corniche as she traverses this multihued slate of 16 standards.

What Ross now lacks in power she more than makes up for with the sort of jazz smarts that come only from a lifetime’s worth of roller-coaster highs and lows. Such impeccable instincts, shared with fellow septuagenarian Mark Murphy but few others, are priceless, not only when applied to such world-weary, contemplative chestnuts as “Nobody’s Heart” or “Lush Life” but also when used to ignite the sage optimism of “Accentuate the Positive” or plumb the sweet, misty nostalgia of “Indian Summer” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.” Nor can Ross be dismissed as some sort of classic museum piece. Not when you listen to the predatory playfulness that underscores her coy readings of “Isn’t It a Pity” and “Just Friends” and know there’s still plenty of fuel to burn.

Originally Published