Home » Jazz Musicians » Ken Slavin

Ken Slavin

JAZZ CROONER EXTRAORDINAIRE!

Born in New London, Connecticut, USA, in 1961, jazz and cabaret crooner Ken Slavin grew up a military brat, attending 10 schools in seven states by the time he was 17. After graduating from high school in Alaska, he settled in his father's hometown of San Antonio, Texas, where he enrolled at St. Mary's University, one of the most respected liberal arts institutions in the Southwest, graduating with honors in 1983.

Despite being naturally drawn to the stage and deeply in love with all kinds of music, Ken put his show business aspirations on hold for several years while he pursued a successful journalism and public relations career. He finally listened to his heart and began singing professionally in 1990 at the relatively late age of 29.

Although his smooth and intimate vocal style is often favorably compared to such legendary pop singers as Frank Sinatra, Matt Monro and Tony Bennett or noted jazz vocalist Johnny Hartman, he has steadfastly followed his own musical path and has never tried to emulate anyone. He has no formal vocal training — just an exceptional ear, a God-given voice and an innate sense of how to communicate to audiences through song.

"I choose to work in the jazz and cabaret genres because they offer me the most freedom," he says.

Ken came of age in the 1970s and '80s - during the height of Disco and New Wave music - but always had a secret love affair with the music of the 1930s and '40s: the timeless jazz and pop standards of the Great American Songbook. "I was born in the wrong era," he has often commented.

He was influenced by many classic jazz and pop singers — all of whom were famous before he was born. His "music school" was his bedroom (and sometimes the shower!), where he sang along with records by Sarah Vaughan, Nat "King" Cole, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Patsy Cline, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Matt Monro, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Doris Day, Eydie Gorme, Bobby Darin, Jo Stafford and his longtime favorite, '50s and '60s pop superstar Connie Francis.

"People think I'm a little nutty because of how much I love Connie, especially my jazz friends," he says. "But she is an incredibly gifted and talented artist with a vast repertoire, an unforgettable stage presence and a phenomenal voice. She could sing multiple styles, including jazz. And she recorded in a total of 15 languages! If that isn't true accomplishment, I don't know what is! To this day she is one of the top 10 best-selling female artists of all time. I believe she is sadly underrated by the music industry elite." If you ever visit his home, he will gladly show you his collection of Connie Francis LPs and CDs — more than 100 in all - as well as dozens of memorabilia items. (In 2011 and 2012 he was invited to host four editions of "A Visit With Connie Francis" on Baltimore Net Radio and realized a lifelong dream of speaking with his favorite female singer of the golden age of American pop music. The programs he produced focused on her jazz/swing and foreign language contributions to the recording industry.)

Read more

Tags

"Stunning... and his appearance matches his voice—it's quality... Wonderful! ...the perfect punctuation point to an enjoyable evening." —JOANNE GOOD, BBC LONDON 94.9 FM

“He doesn’t do Rat Pack. Slavin simply sings the Great American Songbook in a baritone timbre that resides somewhere between Chet Baker sweetness and Johnny Hartman’s husky silk. Ken Slavin is the most stylish, unwavering singer in town.” —HECTOR SALDANA, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

"Well worth discovering." —SCOTT YANOW, JAZZ WRITER AND HISTORIAN

SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS: "The most stylish, unwavering singer in town. Somwhere between Chet Baker sweetness and Johnny Hartman's husky silk. When it comes to crooning in the classic jazz/pop saloon style, Ken Slavin has no peers."

Read more

Chet Baker
trumpet
Tony Bennett
voice / vocals
Frank Sinatra
voice / vocals
Ella Fitzgerald
voice / vocals
Johnny Hartman
voice / vocals
Diana Krall
piano and vocals
Sarah Vaughan
voice / vocals
Dinah Washington
voice / vocals
Joe Williams
voice / vocals

Photos

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

"You Gotta Have...

Self Produced
2013

buy

I'll Take Romance

Self Produced
2007

buy

The Song Is You

Self Produced
2001

buy

I'll Take Romance

From: I'll Take Romance
By Ken Slavin

Videos

Similar

Frank Sinatra
voice / vocals
Sony Holland
voice / vocals
Amanda Carr
voice / vocals
Grace Kelly
saxophone, alto
Johnny Hartman
voice / vocals
George Evans
voice / vocals
Ron Kaplan
voice / vocals
Beat Kaestli
voice / vocals
Ilona Knopfler
voice / vocals
Nancy Marano
voice / vocals
Cheryl Bentyne
voice / vocals
Nicole Henry
voice / vocals
Linda Ciofalo
voice / vocals
Julian Yeo
voice / vocals

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.