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Vocalese (Free download)

by Radha Thomas: A Tribute to Chet Baker

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An excellent jazz singer from India who has spent time in New York, Radha Thomas pays tribute to Chet Baker on her new EP in the best possible way. She performs four standards which, after she sings the melody, find her performing her own vocalese to the trumpeter’s recorded solos. Mixing together complementary lyrics and scatting, she brings back the spirit of Chet Baker while being accompanied by Ron McClure (normally a bassist but making a rare appearance on piano), bassist Sri Viswanath, and drummer Vito Lesczak.

Radha Thomas’ deep voice, skills at composing lyrics and scatting, and solid swing make this EP (unfortunately only available as a download) a set that Chet Baker fans will enjoy.

-Scott Yanow
jazz journalist/historian and author.

Jazz singers are a rare commodity in India and the chances of finding one who sings vocalese are rarer still. Radha Thomas is both a jazz singer and a writer with three books to her credit.

“I wanted the vocalese lyrics to complement the original lyrics of the songs themselves so that the listener could be surrounded by streaks of gold and a slash of red (Autumn Leaves) or a tequila sunrise (You Go To My Head). Chet’s solos are very evocative,” she says.
“The great Ron McClure who is a bass player primarily, but a fine pianist too, plays on this album. In an odd coincidence, he was at a Thanksgiving party at Chet’s house (he would play bass for him occasionally) and was looking for an apartment. ‘Take this,’ said Chet, and the result is that Ron now lives in Chet’s old apartment. Ron told me that before he came to the studio to record this album, he listened to the walls carefully to see if Chet had left any music to linger.”

All vocalese lyrics composed by Radha Thomas, based on Chet Baker’s trumpet solos.


1. I Fall In Love Too Easily
Jule Styne / Sammy Cahn

2. You Go To My Head
J Fred Coots / Haven Gillespie

3. It Could Happen To You
Jimmy Van Heusen / Johhny Burke

4. Autumn Leaves
Joseph Kosma / Johnny Mercer


released March 3, 2020


Radha Thomas: Vox, vocalese lyrics.
Ron McClure: Piano (yes, piano and not bass) for a change.
Vito Lesczak: Drums.
Sri Viswanath: Bass.

Recorded by Jim Clouse on 4 June, 2019 at Park West Studio, 33 E 16th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11226. www.parkweststudios.com

Cover Art: Reynold Philip.
Photography: John Isaac.



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