2009/08/16, by Fred Wasserman – Out n’ About

Music director/pianist: Vincent Falcone; electric bass: Chris Colangelo; drums: Kendall Kay; keyboards: Mark Hugenberger.

While strolling though his 8:00 p.m. Yoshi’s Jazz Club opening night audience Friday, and singing to patrons, singer Jack Jones turned to an inebriated man who suddenly and rather sadly blurted,”please don’t leave us”, and the 71 year old Jones laughed and quipped “Did you hear what he said?! Listen, I’m trying as hard as anybody!!”
I attended all four shows.
Jones as usual was in superb voice, exhibited dazzling range and vocal control, along with unerring musicianship, and his well-established jazz instinct.
He was so good you just wanted to — hell, cry!
This appearance was a homecoming for Jack who has not appeared in the City for “over a decade” (more like two decades, actually).
He talked about being hired to sing in 1959 at Fack’s II jazz club run by the venerable George Andros who actually attended the 8:00 p.m. show Saturday evening.
And how he was “discovered” and signed by Kapp Records (Pete King) and began singing hit records, the first in 1961 — Lollipops and Roses — by Tony Velona while Jones was in the Air Force Reserve.
From 1964 onward, following the release of his smash hit Grammy award-winning (now politically incorrect) “Wives and Lovers” record, Jones now proceeded to sing at the most elegant well-paid venue in San Francisco–the now long-shuttered (closed in 1982) Fairmont Hotel Venetian Room with a dazzling augmented 20+ piece orchestra with harp and strings.
He now sang to attractive, well-dressed, sophisticated wealthy audiences, and quickly earned admiration by a public literally in awe of his youth, well-groomed movie star good looks, confident, witty stage manner and above-all, his beautiful singing. He still amuses! First of all, he has this impish, innocent smile that he’ll flash at an audience that is just delightful. Like a little kid.
He plunged into what one reviewer two years ago correctly referred to as a “daunting” 18-song show of carefully crafted ballads, standards and show tunes that he has made famous and deservedly so over the years.
Singing just doesn’t get any better than this!
Whether ballads(“There’s A Place For Us” done in two keys, “What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life” with a witty aside: “I want to see your face…. book…. in every kind of light!”; his famous “One At A Time” by Michel Legrand sung to the audience; a complex arrangement of “Not While I’m Around”) , latin beats (his amusing new Latin version of his “Love Boat Theme” delighted), or “Baby, Baby Don’t You Quit Now”, a Jimmy Rowles/’ Johnny Mercer sexy, slow swinging love song.
Jones excelled at everything, charming the house.
Working with a four-piece band led by pianist Vincent Falcone, with bassist Chris Colangelo, drummer Kendall Kay, and electric keyboardist Mark Hugenberger, Jones immediately established his credentials with his signature “I Am A Singer” solid rock ballad tribute to singers and their art, then jumped into his very jazz-like, complex fast swing “She Love Me”(riffing on both the melody and the rhythm).
He switched songs between sets.
At one point in the third show, a fragile elderly lady –an apparent friend of Jack’s in first row center — loudly asked for his hit “Lollipops And Roses” near the end of the set, and he quickly switched and sang the song to the delight of everyone.
He added “Have You Met Miss Jones” for the third and fourth show which he wittily dedicated to his beautiful new wife Eleanora (“And we’ll keep on meeting til we die, Mrs. Jones and I”).
Welcome home, Jack Jones.