- 20 min
Jon Hendricks is a jazz lyricist and singer. 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.”
A piece he wrote specifically for the stage about the history of jazz, Evolution of the Blues, ran an unprecedented five years at the Broadway Theatre in San Francisco and another year in Los Angeles. His television documentary, Somewhere to Lay My Weary Head, received Emmy, Iris, and Peabody awards. His 1985 album, Vocalese, won seven Grammy Awards. In 2000, Hendricks returned to his hometown to teach at the University of Toledo, where he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Jazz Studies and received an honorary Doctorate of the Performing Arts. He was recently selected to be the first American jazz artist to lecture at the Sorbonne in Paris.
He’s served on the Kennedy Center Honors committee under Presidents Carter, Reagan, and Clinton.