In the category of young male vocalists like Michael Bublé and Peter Cincottiand probably the role model for both, Harry Connick, Jr.comes a new entry with his debut album. San Francisco-based vocalist Jonathan Poretz has also been linked more seriously in the press to Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin. These are some serious comparisons, and Poretz does have experience "being" Sinatra in a travelling tribute show to the Rat Pack. He has none of the bel canto style of Tony Bennett, and I think that a more appropriate narrowing of the classification would be somewhere between Sinatra and Bobby Darin.
On A Lot of Livin' To Do, Poretz does a nice job. He is a pop singer with a jazz group, which elevates the vibe of this album. I use the words pop singer in the mid-century definition, rather than today's example of pop singer (eg. Justin Timberlake). Like Michael Bublé, Poretz seems very comfortable with the Great American Songbook, and likely with an audience. While Bublé appears to prefer working with a big band, Poretz has expierience with both small combos and large ensembles. On this album, Noel Jewkes, on various reed instruments, adds a lot of coloration to the session. Likewise, pianist Lee Bloom furthers the cause, as does ex-Cal Tjader drummer Vince Lateano, who also plays percolating percussion on the title track.
In terms of the selected material, there are plenty of overexposed, crowd-pleasing songs, like Arlen/Mercer's "Come Rain or Come Shine," Jobim's "How Insensitive" and Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things," but Poretz's lively readings keep the listener tuned in. On more under-recorded tunes like the ballads "Then I'll Be Tired of You" (by Schwartz/Harburg), "I See Your Face Before Me" (Schwartz/Dietz), and the swinging "This Time The Dream's On Me" (Arlen/Mercer), Poretz does an effective job with shading and nuance that would do Sinatra and Tormé proud. On a Frank Loesser medley from Guys and Dolls, Poretz matches up the rarely heard "My Time of Day" with an unusally up-tempo take on "I've Never Been In Love Before."
Track Listing: A Lot Of Livin' To Do; My Time of Day/I've Never Been In Love Before; Then I'll Be Tired Of
You; Come Rain Or Come Shine; How Insensative: I'll Remember April; It Never Entered My
Mind; This Time The Dream's On Me; On The Street Where You Live; I See Your Face Before
Me; Just One Of Those Things.
Personnel: Jonathan Poretz: vocals; Lee Bloom: piano; Noel Jewkes: tenor sax, clarinet, flute, valve
trombone; Pierre Josephs or Jeff Neighbor: bass; Harold Jones: drums; Vince Lateano: drums,
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.