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Wayne Powers

From jazz vocalist/bandleader to actor/comedian/radio talk show host, it's easy to see why Wayne Powers is often referred to as a “renaissance man”.

Wayne started out as a “boy singer” in New York nightclubs at age 16. “I wasn’t very good,” he freely admits, “but you’ve gotta start someplace – and I grew up with this music inside me – in my heart and soul – and treasure it enough to gladly do whatever it takes for me to live inside the music. You see, when I was growing up we couldn’t afford a piano (and we had no room for one, anyway). so I just learned to play the human voice.”

Persistence paid off as Powers eventually studied in New York with renowned vocal coach of the day, Fred Steele, mentor to Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Eddie Fisher and widely credited with helping restore Tony Bennett’s voice. Wayne continued to hone his craft, performing in stage musicals, reviews and in nightclubs after relocating to the Midwest – and eventually, the West Coast.

After arriving in L.A., Wayne landed a job with Henry Mancini and, soon after, fulfilled another dream by establishing his network TV career. But Powers was still pulled to return to his roots, augmenting his comedy and acting work by putting together his “Hoi Polloi,” band with a uniquely joyous sound that dazzled audiences in some of the top west coast nightclubs, showrooms and jazz festivals.

" Wayne Powers and his band, Hoi Polloi, were a knockout … one of the BEST shows I’ve seen in a long time! Get yourself to a Wayne Powers show. The guy is really terrific!” -Myrna Daniels, L.A. Jazz Scene

The sound was reminiscent of Louis Prima, “Fats” Waller, Louis Armstrong and others who were among Wayne’s major musical influences in creating this unique band. They released one CD, “Plain Old Me.” It was recorded live in-studio, enjoyed national radio airplay and garnered rave reviews.

Today, Powers has further matured in both voice and approach. While he still revels in a swingin’-hard, wild jazz romp, (“Powers sings, mugs, scats and fairly bounces off the stage” – L.A. Jazz Scene), he’s equally at home immersed in the most poignant ballad or “saloon song.”

The clear evidence is found in Wayne’s first new album in 25 years, “If Love Were All,” (Kabockie Records KCD-1031, KLP2-1031), in which he largely focuses on “The heartbreak and joy of that personal yet universal saga of love lost and love found.”

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"Like the jazz greats before him - Sinatra, Eckstine, Prysock, Hartman - Powers understands that great singers are equal parts poets and performers, technicians and thespians. As he's proven over the course of a long career, he's the complete package." - JAZZIZ Magazine

"The infectious charm and musical wit of 'Three Guys Named Louis'- Armstrong, Prima, and Jordan...their upbeat approach personified." - JAZZ TIMES Magazine

"Not every singer can add that much subtext to a love song. Sinatra could, and so can Powers." - Vinyl Anachronist

“Top-notch ballad singing" - Scott Yanow, L.A. JAZZ SCENE

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Ernie Andrews
voice / vocals
Tony Bennett
voice / vocals
Frank Sinatra
voice / vocals
Billy Eckstine
voice / vocals
Johnny Hartman
voice / vocals
Billie Holiday
voice / vocals
Carmen McRae
voice / vocals
Louis Prima
composer/conductor
Joe Williams
voice / vocals

Photos

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

If Love Were All

Kabockie Records
2018

buy

Plain Old Me

Warped Records
1993

buy

Videos

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