NEW YORK (AP) - Jon Hendricks, the pioneering jazz singer and lyricist who with the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross popularized the "vocalese" singing style in which words were added to instrumental songs, has died.

The New York Times reports his daughter, Aria Hendricks, confirmed his Wednesday death at a Manhattan hospital. He was 96.

Hendricks found fame in the 1950s and '60s teaming with Dave Lambert and Annie Ross. Their interracial trio became one of the most celebrated jazz vocal groups ever, and among the latter-day stars they influenced were Joni Mitchell and Manhattan Transfer.

A performer even as a teacher, he was known for his unending enthusiasm. On the first day of class, he sang students the story of jazz, backed up by bass, drums and piano. Students gave him ovations.