Jon Hendricks was one of the first and foremost influences on my poetry. The lyrics he wrote to jazz instrumentalist's tunes and improvisations, echoed in my ears and heart throughout my life, so much so that I can give you my favorite quote from them off the top of my head right now and probably get it right:
"If you be still, and never move, you're gonna dig yourself a well-intentioned rut and think you've found a groove."
Not only did that kind of writing impact my own writing, but Hendricks' philosophy conveyed through his lyrics impacted my way of seeing life, myself, and the world.
I heard him sing with Dave Lambert and Annie Ross as the Lambert, Hendricks & Ross vocal jazz trio several times back in the day, and interviewed Annie Ross when I was an eighteen-year-old disc jockey in 1960 and the trio was playing nearby. And I heard him later when he sang with his kid(s).
I'm just sorry I never got to hang out with him. But I'm grateful for his artistry and its impact on mine, and that he lived a long, fulfilling life. His spirit lives on in every song he sang and/or wrote lyrics to.
[Here he is doing Gimme That Wine, a song I drunkenly sang, accompanying myself on piano, in an Air Force talent contest in 1964 and won the trophy for best comedy act!]