About…

So what is VocalStandards.com? 

It’s a place to revel in, and explore the Vocal Standards … the intersection of the great American songbook and the Rat Pack era. A place to discuss, explore and share opinions regarding the artists, songwriters, songs, albums and mid-century lifestyle of the era that produced this wonderful music.

I may offer a post on books, movies and even food every now and again, but first and foremost this site is about the music … the vocal standards from Billie Holiday to Jonny Blu and the constellation of performing stars in between. It’s going to be fun!

How did I become the Vocal Standards Guy?

For me it all began on a rainy afternoon somewhere around the time of the Apollo moon landing. I was a bored 12 year old rummaging around in my dad’s den and discovered a cache of Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra records. With nothing better to do I dropped a couple of these discs on his beautiful wood RCA Victor record player (had he known I might not be here to write this) and I was struck by the music that emanated from that little six inch speaker.

It wasn’t a shaft of heavenly light, Blues Brothers revelation thing, but a couple of hours later when my mom called “dinner!” up the staircase I found myself still there with records all over the floor, snapping my fingers and singing along with Frank Sinatra (and Tex Beneke!) — the hook was set.

Since that day, the standards gang (Ella, Frank, Dean, Sam, Bobby, Nat, Tony… ) have been a part of my life. Oh I did my time with the “coming of age” music of my generation … Rock, Hard Rock, Pop, Jazz, Progressive country and later Classical and even Reggae. I still enjoy those genres today.

 

But nothing stirs my spirit or feeds my soul like listening to the Matt Monroe, Nat King Cole, Julie London … or the New Guard of Diana Krall, Harry Conick Jr., Michael Bublé, Tony Desare, Steve Tyrell … man, there are so many!

There’s no place I’d rather be (OK… maybe Big Sur) than home on a Friday night, cooking a great dinner for my wife and friends with cocktails in hand and every speaker in the house pumping out swinging vocal hits from the the Rat Pack era. It conjures up romantic images of a cool time and place — though long gone — that still lives on in those verses and notes … and in hearts of all of us that love and listen to it!

A couple of notes about what this site is, and is NOT about…

First of all, I want this to be a conversation … a venue where you and I exchange views and opinions about the music and performers we love to listen to.

Hey, I don’t begin to “know it all” about this giant musical genre …  I’m not a music historian or an expert with loads of personal anecdotes and inside stories about encounters with the stars of the era (see Jonathan Schwartz for that). I’m just a guy that loves listening to this music, has been doing so for many years and still can’t get enough!

What I will do is toss out opinions and perspectives — views and reviews aplenty about the songs, performers, and the trappings of the vocal standards genre … I’ll turn the tables and ask you for your opinions, likes and dislikes too:

  • Who rendered the best performance of “Lullaby of Birdland”?
  • Which streaming music service does the best job with the standards?
  • Is it really appropriate to produce “synthetic duets” with the great artists that are no longer with us?
  • Which of the Crossover Artists kick it and which … suck? (Sorry, but some of them really do suck.)

… and tons of other topics.

So that’s the low-down on VocalStandards.com. It’s going to be fun … dive in and tell me what you think. What’s good, what’s not, and what’s missing; I really want to hear your feedback.

Once again, welcome!