Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vocation, Vocation, Vocation

Gene Lees, 82; Jazz Writer, Biographer, Critic, Lyricist

by Matt Schudel Washington Post, April 24, 2010

Gene Lees, a multitalented writer who left a lasting mark on jazz as a biographer, opinionated critic and graceful song lyricist, died April 22 at his home in Ojai, Calif., after a stroke. He was 82.


"Graceful" wouldn't be the word I'd choose to describe Lees' lyrics. "Clunky", "maudlin", and "trite" all work for me. Good thing he was a jazz journalist, biographer and critic. If he'd been a gym teacher or a bus driver, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to collaborate with the likes of Bill Evans and Tom Jobim.

If he were not such an important and influential member of the jazz community, would any of his lyrics ever have seen the light of day?