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Jazz singing evolved during the bop era. Pure bebop singing was an adaptation of 'scat' in which the meaningless syllables were redesigned to fit the new rhythmic patterns. It required sophisticated harmonic sense and the ability to fashion horn-like improvisations and embellishments related to the new tonal universe of modern jazz.

A dancer named Eddie Jefferson first came upon the idea of fashioning words to the solos recorded by great jazzmen. Among the first to follow Jefferson's lead in the early 1950's was King Pleasure. Pleasure's version of 'I'm in the mood for love', using saxophonist James Moody's improvisation on the melody and borrowing Eddie Jefferson's lyrics, was a hit when it was released.

Multi-talented, avant-gardist Bill Laswell teamed up with legendary producer Alan Douglas to create Jazzonia. As Douglas tells it, "Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, Annie Ross, Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks were the creators of the style called vocalese. It's words sung to an improvised solo. There is no structure, it's full of surprises. Bill and I decided to take the original lyrics and bring the whole form up to date. We wanted to use young, new street artists, and the beats of today's music. Many talented people contributed to Jazzonia."

Laswell is a magnet for innovative, not-yet-discovered talent who are constantly coming to Bill's studio in an effort to work with him. The multi-dimensional character of Jazzonia gave him the opportunity to bring them into this very special recording. Singers, musicians, rappers and DJ's were all selectively chosen for each piece.

Bill Laswell's Jazzonia is an instant classic: strikingly new and yet lovingly tied to the past.

Robert Gardiner

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