Recently voted "Best Vocalist of 2007" by readers of The San Antonio Current and praised by The San Antonio Express-News as having "no peers" when it comes to crooning in the classic jazz/pop tradition, KEN SLAVIN started relatively late in the music business, not stepping on the stage to pursue his lifelong dream until shortly before his 29th birthday.
Now a seasoned 46, Slavin is more determined than ever to make his mark beyond San Antonio on the jazz and cabaret circuits in the United States and abroad. He is actively seeking gigs in New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, on cruise ships and overseas resorts, and at noted American and European jazz festivals. (He already has been invited to perform in Portugal next year, based on advance media praise for I’ll Take Romance.)
Long before the current crop of young interpreters of classic jazz and the Great American Songbook embarked on their careers, Slavin was working the microphone in the home of the Alamo -- known more for rock, country and Tejano music than jazz. He literally has appeared everywhere from hamburger joints to concert halls, earning scores of fans and positive media reviews along the way. Slavin made his professional singing debut on Valentine’s Day 1990 with the Regency Jazz Band at the rowdy and slightly seedy Dick’s Last Resort on the San Antonio River Walk. Decked out in a double-breasted Givenchy suit, he made an unforgettable entrance in front of several hundred inebriated tourists wearing Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. But they applauded long and hard and a serious singing career was born.
With the encouragement and guidance of legendary Regency bandleader and award-winning jazz bassist George Prado, Slavin used that experience as a springboard to begin working in earnest to learn good material, meet (and hire) top-flight musicians and book gigs wherever he could find them. And he practiced endlessly, always learning from his mistakes and striving to get better with each performance.
Seventeen years, thousands of gigs and four CDs later, he continues to successfully perform everywhere from restaurants, nightclubs and piano bars to private parties, black-tie galas and outdoor jazz festivals. He’s also popular on local radio and TV programs. He has headlined San Antonio’s "Jazz’SAlive" festival multiple times (opening for jazz drummer Chico Hamilton, jazz chanteuse Dee Dee Bridgewater, jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis and Latin jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri, among others), has played the famous Texas Jazz Festival in Corpus Christi, and has appeared at other major music events throughout the Lone Star State.
Most recently, he began making inroads into the Austin jazz scene, which he has described as "one of the hardest nuts to crack" in his career. He now appears regularly at the upscale III Forks restaurant in the burgeoning, ultra-hip Second Street District of the Texas capital. In the 1990s Slavin earned a reputation as a very public and dedicated AIDS activist, using music has his weapon. He created, produced, publicized and starred in a series of successful fund-raising concerts benefiting the San Antonio AIDS Foundation.
He also produced a critically acclaimed jazz CD, Tender is the Night, for the organization, donating all sales to what was then the only full-service hospice care facility for AIDS sufferers in South Texas. His six-year effort raised more than $35,000 for SAAF and provided tens of thousands of dollars in free media coverage for the organization and its efforts no small feat in conservative and Hispanic South Texas where AIDS and other gay issues are still not dealt with as openly as in other major U.S. cities.
Slavin is ready to take his singing career to the next level. I’ll Take Romance may be the key that will finally open new doors for this passionate, talented and still relatively young Texas singer with big dreams for a full-time future in jazz.
For more information, visit Slavin’s official website: http://www.kenslavin.com. You may also view a promotional video of this CD at YouTube. (Search for "Ken Slavin" or "I’ll Take Romance.")