Portrait of Dr. Jon Hendricks

“As I’m reflecting back on my life, it’s like a dream.” Grammy Award winning artist, Jon Hendricks, is not only one of the world's favorite jazz vocalists, but is widely considered to be the "Father of Vocalese"…. As a lyricist, no one writes hipper, wittier, or more touching words, while extracting from a tune the emotions intended by the composer, more sympathetically than Hendricks. For his work as a lyricist, jazz critic and historian Leonard Feather called him the "Poet Laureate of Jazz" while Time dubbed him the "James Joyce of Jive." As this excerpt from his official website states, Jon Hendricks, well known as part of the legendary vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, is an internationally respected jazz musician. In 2000, Hendricks returned to his hometown to teach at the University of Toledo and met the Artist, Leslie Adams. During that time, he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Jazz Studies and received an honorary Doctorate of the Performing Arts. Furthermore, and most recently, he was selected to be the first American jazz artist to lecture at the Sorbonne in Paris, a university established in the year 1248. This work, Portrait of Dr. Jon Hendricks, was included in Leslie Adams: Drawn from Life at the Toledo Museum of Art in 2012. It is just one in a series of portraits for which Mr. Hendricks has posed for Adams. Her intention was to create a series of works based on one individual – and there is no other individual that personifies vocal jazz more than Jon Hendricks. His portrait requires no props to tell his story. His voice is his instrument.

“… One word— Listen!” -Jon Hendricks


The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio; Leslie Adams: Drawn from Life