New York


Personnel
Ron KaplanVocals
Larry DunlapPiano
Akira TanaDrums
Seward McCainBass
Erik JekabsonTrumpet
Noel JewkesSax & Clarinet
Reviews
New York by Ryan Young

“Besides being a jazz singer, Ron Kaplan also is the founder and executive director of American Songbook Preservation Society, a non-profit organization whose mission statement is: "To preserve our cultural treasure known as the Great American Songbook” (primarily consisting of classic compositions from the first-half of the last century). These two jobs come together on his recordings. Because so many of these songwriters spent time in New York City (in the big bands, Broadway theatre and Tin Pan Alley) it makes sense that they wrote many tunes about the Big Apple. On his seventh CD, Kaplan does classy versions of some of those greatest songs about New York including “Lullaby of Broadway” and “Harlem Nocturne.” Appropriately-titled NEW YORK, this CD contains both well-known pieces as well as a few more obscure titles, and through historical research, Kaplan has even come up with a few verses that are barely known today. He is working with a top-notch jazz quintet – piano, bass and drums augmented by trumpet and saxophone (with the occasional clarinet also thrown in). Kaplan follows the line of male jazz crooners over the years who have included Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme and Tony Williams. So sit back and take a reminiscing journey through old New York town Martinis optional."
All About Jazz magazine review by George Harris, May 2008 Vol. 6 No. 4

"Leave it to California gentlemen to put out a definitive tribute to the Big Apple. Vocalist Ron Kaplan is my kind of singer: both by his terrific tone and impeccable delivery. Kaplan sounds like he's been around the block a few times, and is here to tell you about it and you will want to hear what he has to say. As relaxed and confident as only an old pro is able, Kaplan takes on New York-based themes like Duke Ellington's "Drop Me Off In Harlem" with great ease and style. During the bass duet intro on "Lullaby Of Broadway" and along with the supporting bluesy tenor saxophone on "Harlem Nocturne", Kaplan brings off a streetwise delivery that sounds like a Rolex salesman in Times Square. Storytelling like a confidant in the back of a bar on "Give It Back To The Indians", Kaplan can deliver this old Tin Pan Alley tune as if it's the latest news on a stock tip. As you listen to his easygoing and avuncular delivery on the closing chestnut "Manhattan", you can't help but imagine yourself waltzing along Central Park with a Nathan's famous in your fist. Ron Kaplan's New York is as authentic as Ray's pizza, and just as tasty."
In Tune International review by Dan Singer, No. 194 April 2008

"Ron's return to CD creating is always an event. This time out the concept is New York and it's familiar musical treasure trove in Manhattan type song titles. The variety in his dozen-song program can't be better especially with many updated lyrics at almost each and every turn. Take for example the brand new updated lyrics for "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid" (Young / Feyne). It not only jumps, it's most musical and it's clever in a masterful one of a kind outstanding performance. This song continues to be used as a theme for a local college radio station DJ in New York many years after it original use. "Lullaby Of Broadway" (Warren / Dubin) has a wonderfully cool arrangement. His vocal is smooth as silk and most fitting. "Take The 'A' Train" (Strayhorn) begins in an unusually slow manner and then Ron sweetly swings things to its familiar yet fine conclusion. There's a splendid "Harlem Nocturne" (Hagen / Rogers) that is riveting. Reminding me always of Mike Hammer on TV, Ron's over 6 minute vocal surely evokes much of the sadness of the most haunting lyrics ever put to a melody. Ron will have you weeping throughout with his long held notes. As familiar as "Manhattan" (Rogers / Hart) is, Ron treats us to a special treatment all his own. His vocal bursts with fine jazz chance taking. And then there's "Sunday In New York" (Nero / Coates) taken at a leisurely pace. Ron makes his many vocal points during his wonderful over 4 minutes vocal. This song continues to be an uplifting joyous musical salute to the Empire State. Mr. Kaplan has done my hometown a real service.
Radio Host Accolades for New York

"I'm from New York (New Rochelle - close enough), and now live in Colorado, so I love songs of New York. Ron has done a great job, along with a solid lineup of Musicians, of bringing a taste of the Big Apple to ex-New Yorkers around the country. As for the non-New Yorkers out there, good luck finding a CD of songs about Los Angeles, or Miami, or Houston, or wherever it is you're from." ~~ Lenny Mazel Jazz Director - KCME ~~

"New York; a monument in the world, which is further stipulated with Ron Kaplan's latest CD, New York. With an excellent choice of titles documenting the City of New York, Ron Kaplan brings us an extraordinary "Songbook" that you can really "lean back and enjoy." For instance, the beautiful and swinging title "Take the A-Train." This selection from the Great American Song Book really brings out in full the great workmanship of both the musicians and of course the fantastic vocal capabilities of Ron Kaplan. New York really deserves a prominent place in the musical skyline and scenery of the Jazz scene today, echoing the many scenes in the monumental city of New York. So anyone who never has been to New York, like the undersigned, have a good listen to the scene, dream away and you will feel the "Spirit of New York," at least I know I did!!" ~Joost van Steen, Host / producer of the Jazz & Blues Tour ASFM105.4 in The Netherlands ~

"Very Enjoyable CD!" ~Len Dobbins CKUT 90.3 fm Canada

"Ron Kaplan captures the essence of the Big City with his voice and graceful singing style." ~Shyam Sundar, PhD, WKPS, Pennsylvania The Lion 90.7 FM
Victory Review Acoustic Music magazine review by Tom Petersen, Jan. 2008

"Classy Ron Kaplan returns with a sleek concept album that does all the Big Apple classics right. While somebody or another has done the definitive version of each of these, Kaplan, a leading member of the American Songbook Preservation Society (www.greatamericansongbook.org), sings with loving care and feeling, and has his crack band executing exquisite arrangements: these are keepers. He leads off with a good-as-Billy Joel “New York State of Mind,” then, with his cool, clear diction, delivers an instructive “New York New York” (the Tin Pan Alley “Helluva Town” one your gran’pa was always humming.) He’s got similar, you-gotta-hear-this versions of “Lullaby of Broadway” and “Harlem Nocturne,” but when he “Takes This A Train,” he has the conductor slow to an oh-so- leisurely stroll. The effect is remarkable. This subway with scenery makes New York city vivid and real, even to those who’ve never been there, and also shows off what a great piece of music Billy Strayhorn’s composition is – in case anyone needs convincing. Another knockout is a revived “On Broadway.” Kaplan brilliantly avoids the expected slinkiness, and cuts it the way Sammy Davis Jr. or Lou Rawls would have done it, big and loud and funky and swingin’. When the CD ends, just try not to hit “replay!” Dare ya!"
Il Popolo del Blues review by Ernesto de Pascale (English translation by Sheila Hurley), Jan. 2008

"First Class smooth Vocal Jazz tribute to New York and The Great American Songbook. Classy! It is one of the coolest recent records, away from the clamors and edicts of the record industry survival. It is the album of Ron Kaplan, one of the last TRUE singers of the boundless American Songbook that is at the base of singing Jazz. Dedicated to New York, which is also the title of the album, the most recent record of Kaplan, will be liked not only by jazz lovers in the tradition of Johnny Hartman and Mark Murphy (to which Ron resembles a little) but also by those who like the style, the class, and the elegance of the new Mods, in short all the patrons of Lounge Bars or Supper Clubs. Produced in sunny California not to be swallowed by that immense black hole that is the “Big Apple”, New York is a an album “like the good old days” to use an oral anachronism that is strongly in contrast with today's music. Yet it’s more than that: Kaplan and his band (Larry Dunlap at the piano, Seward McCain on bass, Akira Tana on drums, Erik Jacabson on trumpet and Noel Jewkes on saxophone and clarinet, a well compact combo as mentioned in “42nd Street” of Dubin and Warren) produces 12 of the most beautiful songs written for “the city that never sleeps” and it reassures us of the presence of a high level mainstream jazz (the one that is usually at Club Iridium, to be clear) a testimony of how few cosmopolitan cities with opportunities are left in the flat market of today's world. Enjoy!"
Bookwatch magazine review, Jan. 2008

"California native and contemporary jazz singer Ron Kaplan has long admired the energy, drive, and exuberance of New York City; his album New York is a tribute to the great, bustling metropolis. Assisting him are a talented assortment of fellow musicians: co-producer, arranger, and pianist Larry Dunlap; bassist Seward McCain and drummer Akira Tana for the rhythm section; and Erik Jekabson on trumpet and Noel Jewkes on saxophone and clarinet for the horn section. This band's unique take on a dozen classic tunes reflecting New York itself makes for an unabashed celebration of all the city's riches. The tracks are New York State of Mind, Jumpin' with Symphony Sid, New York New York/Broadway, Lullaby of Broadway, Take the "A" Train, Drop Me Off in Harlem, Harlem Nocturne, Forty Second Street, Sunday in New York, On Broadway, Give It Back to the Indians, and Manhattan. Highly recommended."
O's Place Jazz Newsletter review, D. Oscar Groomes, January 2008

"Ron presents us with a dozen songs that feature the big apple. We liked the seductive groove of "Harlem Nocturne", and the playful spirit of "New York New York/Broadway". We could visualize his thoughts when he sang "New York State Of Mind". Ron's enunciation is crisp allowing us to appreciate each of the words on songs like "Take The A Train". We always knew the tune, now we know the words, definitively! The band is a quintet with Larry Dunlap (p), Akira Tana (d), Erik Jekabson (t) and Noel Jewkes (sax & cl). With Kaplan out front on the mic, they produce a fine set!"
Improvisational Promotions review by A. J. Julian, Dec. 2007

Style: Male Vocalist with Great American Songbook influences, jazz/pop flavor with combo and big band

"The best way to describe "Ron Kaplan" is his focus on making warm melodic interpretations of the music he presents. It is always lyrical, introspective and sensitive with a wide range of musical expressions and contrasting moods. Ron operates in the San Francisco Bay area and the Jazz Community. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit "American Songbook Preservation Society". It has been created entirely as a support organization for the purpose of keeping this truly American cultural legacy for the World's Music Community. Ron Kaplan's CD "New York" is his sixth and latest release on the independent Kapland Record label. This album has to be one of the Premier Vocal releases of the year!! Kaplan sings with a quiet confidence, great feeling and soul resulting with warm timeless tunes. Ron takes on a 12 tune joyful performance paying homage to the City of New York. He opens with Billy Joel's bluesy and soulful "New York State Of Mind". Kaplan's warm tones are well lubricated on Lester Young's swinging tribute to the legendary N.Y. Jazz DJ "Symphony Sid". The Ellington-Strayhorn medley is a mellow and relaxing performance of "Take The "A" Train" and "Drop Me Off In Harlem". Peter Nero and Carroll Coates' marvelous upbeat persuasion of "Sunday In New York". Ron was on key with warm, wide range and a vocal instrument to behold. You can hear how effortless he sings these everlasting tunes in his tribute to the "Big Apple". Ron is in good company backed by a group of notable Bay Area Players with Larry Dunlap - piano and co-producer, Seward McCain - bass, Akira Tana - drums, Erik Jekabson - trumpet and Noel Jewkes - reeds. The overall level of musicianship is only outdone by the quality of the message and tribute to the Great City that Ron delivers through his performance."
All Music Guide review by William Ruhlmann, Dec. 2007

"On his sixth studio album, Ron Kaplan continues to champion pre- and non-rock popular music as performed in a jazzy manner by such predecessors as Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé. Assembling a thematic collection of songs about New York, however, he was wise to leave out the late Sinatra signature song "New York, New York" (that is to say, the 1977 movie theme that begins, "Start spreading the news"), except for a quote thrown in by pianist Larry Dunlap at one point. As a singer, the smooth-voiced Kaplan is actually closer to Steve Lawrence than he is to his heroes, which becomes clear when he tries the Rodgers & Hart standard "Manhattan" at the end of the disc and gives it none of the flair that Tormé used to. Still, the album is a thoroughly competent effort, and Kaplan has done some digging to come up with rarely used lyrics, such as those for "Jumpin' with Symphony Sid," and introductory verses. His acoustic five-piece backup band provides excellent accompaniment, with trumpeter Erik Jekabson and reed player Noel Jewkes taking plenty of solos. As is usually the case with this sort of effort at re-creation, it would be more impressive if heard live in concert than it is on disc, where the comparisons with Torme and others inevitably kick in. But Kaplan shouldn't mind that. As the founder and executive director of the non-profit organization American Songbook Preservation Society, he takes as his mission statement "to preserve our cultural treasure known as the Great American Songbook by performing this music at home and abroad as Ambassadors of Song." In this sense, his work is largely a tribute effort to songwriters, and it is enough to be showing their work off to advantage in the present day, not so much to compete with those who have gone before."
Musicwatch review, Dec. 2007

"From the title of jazz singer Ron Kaplan's latest album you can easily surmise that the musical theme is the city of New York - the Big Apple. With a songbook containing a dozen songs by Billy Joel (New York State Of Mind, Lester Young (Jumpin' With Symphony Sid), Harry Warren (Lullaby Of Broadway), Billy Strayhorn (Take The A Train), Mann & Weil (On Broadway), Leonard Bernstein (New York New York / Broadway) and many more songs about the most vibrant city in the USA. Sung over the backdrop of a tightly energetic small jazz band, Ron Kaplan offers his interpretations of these standards. His close miked intimate vocal styling suits the jazz bar or lounge, or at home, it would be lost in a concert hall. The album is beautifully recorded and mixed, it sounds like the musicians and singer are in the room with you. If you enjoy old school jazz singers then check out Ron Kaplan, he continues that legacy."
Jazz Hotline review, Nov. 2007

"Singer Ron Kaplan has spent his entire career championing the Great American Songbook. Since so many classic songs have been written in or about New York City, it certainly made perfect sense for this tradition-oriented vocalist to dedicate his latest album, NEW YORK, to that remarkable metropolis. Kaplan says: I love New York City and the energy, excitement and exuberance of the place. Everything about it is exciting – the history, the architecture, the people, the culture, the arts. It is the jazz capitol of the world. It is the home of Broadway theatre, Tin Pan Alley, the Brill Building and countless legendary songwriters over the past century. There is so much to do and the atmosphere is so intense. It is the city that never sleeps. It is one of the few cities in the world that has had many, many songs written about it. The difficulty wasn’t finding New York-themed songs for this recording, but deciding which ones to sing. Take a listen to Kaplan’s NEW YORK CD with songs ranging from the Rogers & Hart tune “Manhattan” to the Billy Joel composition “New York State of Mind.” This is a great song-trip through The Big Apple by a very classy jazz singer."
CD Insight review, Nov. 2007

"If you have heard any of the other albums by jazz singer Ron Kaplan – High Standards, Dedicated, Jazz Ambassadors, Lounging Around, Saloon or American Songbook Preservation Society Singing the Great American Songbook – then you know he has become one of our finest contemporary singers of jazz standards. Now Kaplan has done it again with a new recording, New York, featuring a dozen classic tunes about NYC, Manhattan, The Big Apple, Bright Lights & Big City USA. In the past few years Kaplan has performed in Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC. He has made television appearances on "Musician's Weekly" and "BETonJazz." He has played in the past with musicians such as Tom Garvin, Weber Iago, Larry Scala, Paul Contos, Ted Curson, Dmitri Matheny, Donny McCaslin Jr., Kenny Stahl, Dan Brubeck and Matt Wilson. The players on NEW YORK have a long A-list of credits -- pianist and producer Larry Dunlap (Cleo Laine, Mark Murphy), bassist Seward McCain (Vince Guaraldi Trio, Richie Cole), drummer Akira Tana (Lena Horne, Pat Metheny), trumpeter Erik Jekabson (Illinois Jacquet, John Mayer) and saxophonist Noel Jewkes (Jon Hendricks, Michael Bloomfield). Kaplan covers a couple of newer tunes – Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and the Man-Weil-Leiber-Stoller classic “On Broadway.” But Ron also gets into some jazz standards like Ellington’s “Take the A Train” and “Drop Me Off in Harlem” along with “Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid” (an oldtime NYC DJ) and “Harlem Nocturne.” Kaplan also covers a couple of Rogers & Hart standards (“Give It Back to the Indians” and “Manhattan”). Kaplan has a very relaxed style that you sort of float away on, much like Tony Bennett when he is doing his laid-back, easy-going thing. Kaplan knows when to caress the lyric and when to let it go. He also steps out of the way long enough to let his band shine a bit on every tune. Since Sinatra isn’t coming back, this is really male jazz vocalizing at its finest in the modern world."
Midwest Record review, Volume 30, Number 354, October 20, 2007

"The California jazz singer has the hots for New York and lets it show on his latest tribute to the great American songbook as he opens the lens wider to include Billy Joel in the stack next to Duke Ellington, et al. Covering the ground of the great vocalists quite righteously, this latest is right in the pocket. He might be flying under the radar, but he flies pretty high while doing so. A real treat for jazz vocal fans."
eJazz News review, Nov., 2007

"Ron Kaplan pays homage to the American Songbook in fine fashion. He has a voice whose texture is suitable for this idiom. "Jumpin With Symphony Sid" is a jazz classic and Kaplan leaves no meat on the bone with his hip vocal. A nice relaxed trumpet solo by Jekabson followed by Jewkes' sax solo in the same bag pays tribute to Prez nicely. "Manhattan" Ron Kaplan sings the verse and then swings into the melody very neatly. A gentle Latin beat adds a lot to this track. The arrangement is cleverly created by Larry Dunlap. Fine section work plus a superb vocal makes this tune a winner. These are but two of the twelve songs on this recording and all are treasures of America's best art form. This album is crafted into a true and legit representative of the classic jazz genre. 5 Stars!"
USA Entertainment.com review, Oct. 2007

JAZZ SINGER RON KAPLAN CAPTURES NEW YORK CITY ON NEW CD

"One of our finest contemporary singers of jazz standards, Ron Kaplan has spent his entire career championing the Great American Songbook, with much of that classic material written in or about New York City. So it makes perfect sense that this tradition-oriented vocalist dedicates his latest album, New York, to that remarkable metropolis.

"Although I am from California," explains Kaplan, "every time I go to New York City I am always struck by the energy, excitement and exuberance of the place. Everything about it is exciting - the history, the architecture, the people, the culture, the arts. It's the jazz capitol of the world. It's the home of Broadway theatre, Tin Pan Alley, the Brill Building and countless legendary songwriters over the past century. There is so much to do and the atmosphere is so intense. It's the city that never sleeps. It is one of the few cities in the world that has had many, many songs written about it. The difficulty wasn't finding New York-themed songs for this recording, but deciding which ones to sing."

Ron Kaplan's New York and his other CDs are available at online sites (such as cdbaby.com and amazon.com), digital download locations (including iTunes.com, rhapsody.com) and Kaplan's own ronkaplan.com.

In addition to his career as a concert performer and recording artist, Kaplan also is the founder and executive director of American Songbook Preservation Society, a non-profit organization whose mission statement is: "To preserve our cultural treasure known as the Great American Songbook by performing this music at home and abroad as Ambassadors of Song." For more information, go to greatamericansongbook.org. "The Great American Songbook is full of what is known as popular standards -- great songs written generally between 1920 and 1960, most often for Broadway shows or Hollywood musical films, but sometimes simply in the Tin Pan Alley tradition of pianists and lyricists working together to create quality material for the big bands or the pop singers of the day."

Kaplan has carved out an exemplary singing career by following in the footsteps left by legends such as Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett. Ron has superb command of his flexible baritone that literally cocoons the listener within the cozy atmosphere of the images and feelings that he sings about. His trademarks are his sophisticated phrasing, the mature tonal qualities of his vocals, and his relaxed style.

On the New York CD, Kaplan uses a hot jazz quintet. He co-produced with arranger and pianist Larry Dunlap, who has worked with Cleo Laine, Mark Murphy, The Swing Fever Big Band, Jules Broussard, Bobbe Norris and Jeremy Cohen, among others. The rhythm section is comprised of bassist Seward McCain (Vince Guaraldi Trio, Richie Cole, Kitty Margolis, Jeff Linsky, Dave Eshelman) and drummer Akira Tana (Lena Horne, Pat Metheny, Art Farmer, Zoot Sims, James Moody, Ruth Brown, Lee Konitz, Kenny Burrell). They are augmented by a horn section ? Erik Jekabson on trumpet (Illinois Jacquet, John Mayer, Kermit Ruffins, Howard Fishman) and Noel Jewkes on saxophone and clarinet (Jon Hendricks, Michael Bloomfield, Mary Stallings, Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers).

Kaplan selected a dozen classic compositions that reflect a myriad of different aspects of New York City. "The chronology of the songs is like taking a trip to New York City, seeing the different parts of the island, experiencing the nightlife, riding the subway or the buses, walking around or going uptown." A couple of the tunes are better known as jazz instrumentals than vocalized compositions, but Kaplan did extensive research to track down the lyrics, often going back to the earliest versions or sheet music, and sometimes singing verses seldom heard today.

While most of the CD's tunes are from the first half of the Twentieth Century, the stage is set with a song from the Seventies, Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" ("He's saying that once you've been a New Yorker, you always feel the pull to go back to that city."). Lester Young's "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid" is about a famous New York disc-jockey playing the swing, R&B and jazz of the Forties over the air. No trip to NYC would be complete without a stop on Broadway, represented by both "Lullaby of Broadway" and a medley, "New York New York/Broadway," where, as the lyrics say, "the night is brighter than day." Then it's off on a historical ride around the city with Billy Strayhorn's classic "Take the 'A' Train" which became one of Duke Ellington's signature themes. Appropriately, next comes the Ellington-penned "Drop Me Off in Harlem" and a Cotton Club standard, "Harlem Nocturne," which Kaplan first heard as an instrumental on a noir-ish private eye television show years ago.

The journey around the big city continues with "Forty Second Street." Kaplan says he loves the historical content ("it talks about everything from dancing girls and chorus lines to Times Square and Wall Street"). Another side of the city is presented in "Sunday in New York" ("it reminds me of strolling along the streets and people watching"). For many years striving, struggling artists have flocked to this important entertainment capital determined "to make it" and this drama is described in the Sixties Brill Building hit "On Broadway." Kaplan injects a little humor with the cynical tongue-in-cheek "Give It Back to the Indians," written by tunesmiths Rogers and Hart. The recording closes with another song by the same team, "Manhattan" ("perhaps the quintessential song about New York").

Kaplan's other albums are High Standards, Dedicated, Jazz Ambassadors, Lounging Around, Saloon and a special-edition fund-raising live recording American Songbook Preservation Society Singing the Great American Songbook. In the past few years Kaplan has performed in Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC. He has made television appearances on "Musician's Weekly" and "BETonJazz." He has played with musicians such as pianists Shelly Berg, Smith Dobson, Geoff Eales, Tom Garvin, Weber Iago, Mark Levine, Dick Whittington and Jessica Williams; guitarist Larry Scala; bassists Art Davis, Stan Poplin, Perry Thoorsell and Tom Warrington; horn-players Paul Contos, Ted Curson, Dmitri Matheny, Donny McCaslin Jr. and Kenny Stahl; and drummers Dan Brubeck, Donald Dean, Tootie Heath, Guiseppe Merolla, and Matt Wilson.

Kaplan was born in Hollywood and was immediately surrounded by music. His father played trumpet in jazz-bands in the Fifties and his mother had the radio or record player on constantly. From his toddler-days onward, Kaplan's parents indoctrinated him with the great singers of 1950s. His earliest influences were Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Dean Martin, Sarah Vaughn, Sammy Davis Jr., and Louis Armstrong among others. Ron played drums and percussion at school. In junior and senior high schools he sang in musical stage productions, did standup comedy at talent shows and his uncle's bar, and competed in speech tournaments ("sometimes it was extemporaneous speaking which is sort of like jazz soloing"). Ron studied in an actor's workshop in Hollywood, and then went to Los Angeles' Valley College where he got his Associate in Arts degree. He taught himself to play guitar and piano, and started writing songs influenced by Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Cat Stevens. Ron also performed original material professionally accompanied by a viola player. In addition, Kaplan learned to play congas at Venice Beach and later played in drum circles every Sunday for a number of years in Griffith Park. Kaplan moved north to attend the University of California at Santa Cruz where he majored in psychology and received his Bachelor of Arts degree.

From 1985 to 1995, Kaplan decided to immerse himself in instrumental jazz and began listening to classic material from 1950 to 1964; Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter and countless others. About a dozen years ago Kaplan turned to his first love, those songbook standards, and began his recording career with a style reminiscent of those great jazz vocalists he first heard as a child.

"All of my albums are an acknowledgment and tip-of-the-hat to those who came before us and paved the way for us to have a truly American soundtrack of music for our lives," explains Kaplan. "My greatest desire is to keep this wonderful music before the public for the next hundred years and beyond. This music needs to be elevated and cared for, which is why I started the not-for-profit American Songbook Preservation Society."