Ron Kaplan is a crusader without a cape. His mission is to perpetuate the tradition of American popular song and everything that goes with it.
This, his fifth album, is aptly titled Saloon
. The California - born jazz singer and his Brazilian born accompanist Weber Iago bring back the flavor the famed Tony Bennett - Bill Evans album for Fantasy in 1975. Saloon
creates a similar mood without echoing the Bennett/ Evans songs themselves. Kaplan and Iago create the illusion of an intimate but classy little jazz room. The singer has a relaxed and elegant jazz style that lends itself perfectly to the compositions of Gershwin, Jobim, Ellington and Bacharach.
The duo doesn't dig too deeply through the years with the oldest pieces being the Duke's "I'm Just A Lucky So And So" and Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" and "'S Wonderful" done in medley style. Most songs fall comfortably into the memories of anyone born within the last four decades. This reviewer's favorites are "Willow Weep For Me" and Jobim's "Agua De Beber." The latter features some inventive efforts by both singer and pianist. The album closes with a memorable reading of "Who Can I Turn To" penned by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. Saloon
would be a fine addition to your next quiet dinner with someone special. It's a charmer!