Sing Joy Spring | with Tony Glausi

Sing Joy Spring | VOCALESE III (S3 | E135)

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This is Episode Three of a three-part series on a jazz vocal genre called Vocalese. The shows centers on the album by The Manhattan Transfer from 1985 entitled Vocalese. It is one of the most nominated records of all time for Grammy Awards. And it has been a personal favorite album for a lifetime.

Vocalese uses recognizable lyrics that are sung to pre-existing instrumental solos, as opposed to scat singing, which uses nonsense words such as “bap ba dee dot bwee dee” in solos. In the “first wave” of vocalese creation, that sometimes took the form of a tribute to the original instrumentalist. The word “vocalese” is a play on the musical term “vocalise”; the suffix “-ese” is meant to indicate a sort of language. The term was attributed by Jon Hendricks to the jazz critic Leonard Feather to describe the first Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross album, Sing a Song of Basie.


Growing up in a multi-generational musical family in Portland, Oregon, Tony began to sing and play the piano at a young age. Citing Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, and Earth Wind & Fire amongst his earliest influences, by ten years old he had started to play the trumpet and compose, later also becoming the organist at his church’s weekly services. For years now Tony has resided in New York and performs regularly with the likes of Billboard-charting Peter Cincotti, GRAMMY-nominated Nana Mendoza, hip-hop legend Big Daddy Kane, pianist Sean Mason, burlesque sensation Speakeasy: Times Square, and more. He has toured dozens of countries around the world playing at renowned festivals and clubs including the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Leopolis Jazz Festival in Ukraine, the Seoul Jazz Festival in South Korea, the Blue Note in New York, Hawaii, Napa, Tokyo, and Milan, and has also performed as a featured guest artist with ensembles such as the United States Marine Corps All Star Jazz Band, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, the Eugene Symphony, and high school and college bands throughout the states. 


Vocalese is the ninth studio album by the Jazz band The Manhattan Transfer, released in 1985 on Atlantic Records. Recording sessions took place in 1985. Production came from Tim Hauser and Martin Fischer. This album is considered to be The Manhattan Transfer’s most critically acclaimed album. It received 12 Grammy nominations, making it second only to Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the most nominated individual album. It also received extremely high ratings from music critics, including a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating from Allmusic. The album peaked at number 2 on the Top Jazz Albums and number 74 on the Billboard 200. The album’s title Vocalese refers to a style of music that sets lyrics to previously recorded jazz instrumental pieces. The vocals then reproduce the sound and feel of the original instrumentation. Jon Hendricks, proficient in this art, composed all of the lyrics for this album.

Show Playlist – Sing Joy Spring

Sing Joy SpringThe Manhattan TransferVocalese1985
CenterpieceHendricks, Lambert & RossEverybody’s Boppin’1959
Centerpiece MonoJohn ColtraneThe Atlantic Sessions1960
Jumpin’ at the WoodsideCount BasieOne O’Clock Jump1936
Jumpin’ at the WoodsideHendricks, Lambert & RossEverybody’s Boppin’1959
Just FriendsTony GlausiExclusively Trumpet, Vol. 12019
Body and SoulLouis ArmstrongThis is Jazz Louis Armstrong Sings1928
Joy SpringClifford Brown & Max RoachClifford Brown & Max Roach1954
Sing Joy SpringThe Manhattan TransferVocalese1985
MoveMiles DavisBirth of the Cool1957
MoveThe Manhattan TransferVocalese1985
Four BrothersHendricks, Lambert & RossSing a Song of Basie1957
Four BrothersWoody HermanFour Brothers1947
Four BrothersThe Manhattan TransferPastiche1978
PJ Ewing

You lucky radio stations – for finding LTNF you get this fabulous show on your air! Well done!

Sing Joy Spring | Vocalese III (S3 | 135)

Thank you thank you stations we love!

WPVM 103.7FM WERB 107.5 FM KPOV 88.9 FM WHPW 93.7 FM
KYGT 102.7 WBDY 99.5 FM KFOI 90.9 FM KUGS 89.3



DJ and radio personality PJ Ewing is the host of Lester the Nightfly.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mary

    Another fabulous show!!! Happy music!! I was be bopping the whole time!! I truly enjoyed this show!! Thank you for sharing this with us!!

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