Annie Ross, Distinctively ‘Twisted’ Jazz Voice, Dies at 89

Annie Ross, Distinctively ‘Twisted’ Jazz Voice, Dies at 89

Annie Ross, Distinctively ‘Twisted’ Jazz Voice, Dies at 89

Annie Ross, Distinctively ‘Twisted’ Jazz Voice, Dies at 89

For four years, Lambert, Hendricks and Ross were a worldwide sensation, and Ms. Ross became a model for a new breed of jazz singers who could sing rapid-fire, tongue-twisting words with precision and clarity. But despite the group’s success, she quit in 1962.

At the time, her departure was attributed to poor health. In later years she acknowledged that it had been fueled partly by friction with Mr. Hendricks, but mostly by her increasing dependence on heroin.

“Yeah, I had a hangup,” she told The New York Times in 1993. “A little bit here, a little bit there, and that was it. It was the culture of the time — the long hours, having to produce every night, needing stimulation. I guess you’re young and fearless and think you’re going to live forever.”

After Lambert, Hendricks and Ross finished a club date in London in May 1962, Ms. Ross stayed behind. “I kind of knew that if I came back to America I might die,” she said. The group continued with other female singers.

Dave Lambert died in a highway accident in 1966. Jon Hendricks died in 2017.

Gradually, Ms. Ross straightened out her life. She married an English actor, Sean Lynch, with whom she briefly ran a London nightclub, Annie’s Room. But by 1975 she had declared bankruptcy, lost her home and divorced Mr. Lynch, who died soon after in a car crash. The work had dried up as well.

“They say that each of these is a traumatic thing — well, boy, I had ’em all,” she observed in 1993.


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