"Singing the Great American Songbook" by jazz vocalist Ron Kaplan (for the American Songbook Preservation Society) is a live CD capturing the performance of a benefit concert given by Mr. Kaplan at The Kuumbwa Jazz Center on January 25, 2007. Kaplan is joined by the stellar musicians Marshall Otwell on the piano and Stan Poplin on bass. This release captures the sound and spirit of this live show beautifully, with each musician shining both individually and collectively. Kaplan has a gentle, swinging style of phrasing and his sidemen provide wonderful support and solos throughout. They begin the set with spirited interpretations of Duke Ellington's "Drop Me Off in Harlem" and "Solitude," with Kaplan in fine form. Otwell provides intelligent figures and swinging solos over Poplin's steady bass. Also included is a great rendition of Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick Out of You," with Kaplan's vocals dancing on top of the rhythmic piano of Otwell, anchored by the solid bass lines of Poplin. Another highlight is an enchanting version of Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer's "Out of This World," with soaring vocals from Kaplan and fiery solos by both Otwell & Poplin. A touching interpretation of the jazz ballad "Willow Weep for Me" showcases the trio's sensitivity. The trio closes the night with a playful performance of George & Ira Gershwin's "Love Is Here to Stay," with lively vocals from Kaplan and splashy solos contributed from both Otwell and Poplin. This concert and album is a great example of timeless material performed by three extremely talented musicians; a wonderful contribution to the Great American Songbook. Fans of male jazz vocals in the style of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett will want to check "Singing the Great American Songbook" out.
-Rodney and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
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