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Jazz vocalist Annie Ross to perform at Maine International Film Festival

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WATERVILLE - Annie Ross was a founding member of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, considered the greatest jazz vocal ensemble of all time. Now 82 years young, Ross will be accompanied by her pianist, Tardo Hammer. Ross is one of the early practitioners of a singing style known as 'vocalese,' which involves the setting of original lyrics to an instrumental jazz solo. Ross's visit to MIFF is part of a special 'Celebrating Altman' program honoring the work of one of America's greatest directors, Robert Altman, with whom Ross worked as an actress in and creator of the soundtrack for his ensemble film masterpiece, 'Short Cuts.'

In 1952, Ross recorded 'Singin' and Swingin'' with members of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Later that year she recorded an album with vocalist King Pleasure, including the classic example of vocalese, 'Twisted,' which featured her treatment of saxophonist Wardell Gray's solo. It is her most famous song and has been recorded by Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler and many others. Ross also is an accomplished actress and has appeared in a number of films, such as 'Superman III' (1983), 'Throw Mama from the Train' (1987), 'Pump Up the Volume' (1990) and 'Blue Sky' (1994). Her most notable film role was as the jazz singer Tess Trainer in Robert Altman's 'Short Cuts' (1993), in which she also sang. She also appeared as an actress in Altman's 'The Player' (1992). On stage, Ross appeared in 'Cranks' (1955) in both London and New York, 'The Threepenny Opera' (1972) with Vanessa Redgrave, and in the Joe Papp production of 'The Pirates Of Penzance' (1982) with Tim Curry.

Ross has been honored on the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame, and is the recipient of the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters' Award and the MAC Award for Lifetime Achievement. The story of this illustrious artist has been the subject of 'Twisted: The Annie Ross Story,' a one-woman play, and 'No One But Me,' which premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival in 2012.

Festival Head Programmer Ken Eisen noted "how delighted we are to present a concert with Annie, a key collaborator of Robert Altman, and a true jazz legend one of the few people that overused tag is worthy of."

Ross will perform on the Waterville Opera House stage on Wednesday, July 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are currently on sale at


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