Died ten years ago today. As a singer, I feel I have some measly credential to say that he had a hell of a voice. I can’t vouch for whether he was a nice guy or a jerk, I never met the man. But I can tell you that a lot of horn players wished they could play like he sang. Certainly nobody can sing like he did.
Here’s what I mean, and I’m not going to link any YouTube crap here, no mp3’s. Not near good enough. Find a clean LP copy of “In the Wee Small Hours” and play it on a good system in a comfortable room. Preferably in the evening after bar time. Listen to the whole thing. No other distractions – no cell phone, no computer, maybe a single light. Pour a little Scotch. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. Then you tell me: could the man sing, or could he.