Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet (UVJQ) puts its sublime signature on an engaging but rarely heard vocal jazz genre and breathes new life into the tradition of the great harmonizing vocal groups with its new cool: a collection of swinging, tightly harmonized originals that is quickly becoming a vocalese classic. Reviewers, radio hosts, and listeners have praised this group as a standout for their creative originality backed by superb musicality. Critics have described them as “vocalese at its best”… “as versatile and entertaining as any vocal group you will hear”… “pure fun”… “sensational”… and “a breath of fresh air.”
For more than 20 years, UVJQ and their elite jazz band have been enchanting listeners and building a loyal audience across five continents with their close harmonies and stylized arrangements of American Songbook classics and jazz of all kinds. Their signature sound reminds the listener of such iconic vocal groups as the Manhattan Transfer and Lambert/Hendricks/Ross, but they have put their distinctive stamp on vocal jazz with their latest CD, Hustlin’ for a Gig, a collection of original music, lyrics, and arrangements spotlighting a stylish ensemble that sings and swings together with the precision and excitement of a big band on fresh new material that’s never been heard before. Group leader Ginny Carr has written an album full of delightfully literate lyrics (reminiscent of Jon Hendricks, Dave Frishberg, or Cole Porter), memorable melodies, and harmony-rich arrangements that spotlight both the ensemble and the individual voices. Backed by a terrific rhythm and horn section, the singers grab your attention with their original vocalese anthem, He Was The Cat, a tribute to the late jazz singer and father of vocalese, Eddie Jefferson. That song and the album as a whole was immediately heralded as a tour de force by Eddie’s friend and musical partner, the great alto saxophonist Richie Cole. From there, the album unfolds with the UVJQ hallmark: a diverse celebration of vocal jazz styles, textures, and themes that guarantee the listeners great fun and great art, reminding everyone that the wit of a great lyric combined with the spirited elegance of four voices blending and swinging together like a horn section is a rare and joyful sound. Jazz legend and singer/songwriter Bob Dorough was so enchanted with the original songs that he plans to perform them on his own engagements. And Don Shelton, a pioneer of the group vocal jazz sound and original member of The Singers Unlimited and The Hi-Lo’s, heralded UVJQ as one of today’s most enthralling vocal jazz groups.