We gave it a B
There’s a tradition of setting lyrics to classic jazz instrumentals: Lambert, Hendricks & Ross; Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s verses for Charles Mingus’ ”Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” etc. But the practice known as vocalese still takes chutzpah. On Footprints, the elegant, understated Karrin Allyson wisely enlists vocalese pioneer Jon Hendricks, who reprises his verses to Horace Silver’s ”Strollin’,” and West Coast secret Nancy King, who scats and duets radiantly throughout. So even when Chris Caswell’s lyrics falter, the singers, with assists from pianist Bruce Barth and others, set the words aloft.