September 13 2006, by Steven Suskin, Variety

Jack Jones breezes into the Algonquin with “Just One of Those Things” and “Stranger in Paradise” ? and autumn in New York feels like a different time and place. We are back in the 1960s, not Beatles but Bennett; the place, if not exactly paradise, is somewhere in the environs of Vegas.

Jones strides on looking tanned and trim, his tousled, cottony hair matching the bright white of his neatly folded pocket handkerchief. His voice remains strong at 68: Jones has a tendency to end each song with a long, high note right down the middle, and he never misses.

Many, though far from all, of Jones’ hits are here. Among the old faves are “Call Me Irresponsible,” “You Fascinate Me So,” “Just in Time” and the singer’s Grammy-winning “Wives and Lovers.”

Jones introduces the latter by saying the 1963 Bacharach-David hit ? which includes the lyric “Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your makeup” ? was all but outlawed along with male chauvinists. “No one wants to hear it, but it was my big hit and I’m gonna sing it,” he says, amending it with a parody fragment: “Hey, little man, cap your teeth, get a hairpiece,” etc. (Jones credited help from his pal Sammy Cahn.)

Singer seemed slightly under-rehearsed at his opening perf. He knows the songs and the words inside out, but he wasn’t quite sure what came next, and on at least five occasions could be seen wagging his upstage arm at the drummer in hopes of a quicker tempo. Set was overlong at 80 minutes, although this didn’t seem to upset the longtime fans in the room.

If the patter was haphazard, Jones displayed a genial personality and came up with some very funny lines. You’ve got to like an act that opens with the announcement “Let’s hear a great big New York welcome for ? me!” And where else can you get a Gershwin medley of three “Porgy and Bess” songs with “Embraceable You” stuck in the middle?

Jones’ two-week return engagement at the Oak Room (where he first appeared in 2005), faces stiff competition, running head-on against dynamo Elaine Stritch at the Carlyle. But theirs are different audiences; Stritch will get the theater crowd and younger clients, while Jones (who is a dozen years younger than Stritch) will get the older folks who still want that good old Bennett sound.