Oct. 21, 2011 – by Charles Hutchinson for The Press

AMERICAN crooner Jack Jones last played the York Barbican in June 2000, a fact that catches him by surprise.
“Eleven years ago doesn’t seem like a long time now,” he jokes, in recognition of being 73. “I’m glad to be back.”
The double Grammy-winning, easy-listening jazz singer has recorded more than 50 albums of swinging renditions of standards and contemporary pop and rock: plenty of material, then, for The Greatest Hits Tour, which swings its way into York on Sunday night.
“The idea of a Greatest Hits show kind of started in the Philippines,” he says.
“That’s what they wanted there, and so we put together a tour for that and I really got into doing it.
“I enjoyed it so much after doing a tour of the songs I’d done in the country genre in 2008.
“There was a hit I had only in the Philippines, The Lorelei, and when I first played there I was told that if I didn’t do it, 9,000 people would roll empty Coke bottles down the aisle, so I did it!
“Fifty years later I go back to Manilla and play to 8,000, so in 50 years I drop only 1,000 people. Not bad. And I did do The Lorelei!”
His British tour will incorporate “a few newer things and things I’ve always loved, the more traditional American, English and French songbook”.
“They’re very, very loyal in Britain in favouring songs from the old days that they’ve liked, so I try to include as much of that as I can,” says Jack.
“They’ve seen it all, but they’re now seeing me do it as a more mature person, whereas as a young singer, I would arrive, perform and leave by helicopter – and I almost lost my British audience because of that at the time.”
Why did he behave that way? “I was young and stupid and needed to go somewhere else… just because I could, but now I don’t like helicopters!” he says.
Jack’s tour gives him a chance to promote his latest album, Love Ballad, which combines new interpretations of his most popular songs, such as The Impossible Dream and Lollypops And Roses, with the fresh title track that sets the tone for a very personal take on love lost and found.
“If people from outer space were hovering around here and heard all these love songs, they would wonder, ‘what on earth are they doing’?” he says, smiling at how many songs focus on that one four-letter word.
Those songs will be sung in York on Sunday in a voice as rich and smooth as ever, although “it seems to be responding to jetlag” on the day of this interview upon Jack’s arrival in England.
“So it’s not as easy, but when I’m singing, I’m having a good time and I haven’t lost the high notes,” he says.
So, how does he keep that voice in such velvet nick? “I put it in a jar at night and leave it in the refrigerator!”