The last time I saw Jack Jones perform live was in 1965 in Vegas; that's 46 years ago. At that time, I thought Jack Jones was an excellent young singer of popular songs. Over the years, I sort of lost contact with Jack's work until last year when I came across some CDs that Jack had done. I really was surprised by how great he sounded. I finally had the chance to see Jack in person again on Friday evening January 14, 2011 at The McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California. Jack sang with a 5 piece group led by the brilliant musician Mike Renzi on piano. As it turned out, most of the evening's performances were a showcase for Jack's marvelous voice and phrasing and Renzi's outstanding piano backup. In addition to Mike Renzi, Jack also had his old friend and musical director Vinny Falcon playing piano. If you are a Sinatra fan, you probably know that Vinny Falcon was Sinatra's musical director up until Sinatra's death.
The audience froze when Jack inadvertently tripped. That's when Jack showed what a consummate professional he is. He picked himself up, made light and continued singing without missing a note. A remarkable recovery for anyone but especially for a performer celebrating his 73 birthday.
Jack sang a program of songs from the "Great American Songbook". I thought his interpretation of the Brian Wilson song "God Only Knows What I'd Be Without You" was brilliant. He also did a great job on his version of the David Gates song "If A Picture Paints a 1000 Words" and also the Rod McKuen gem "If You Go Away". Jack Jones even at 73 has remarkable breath control and voice range. He sang some complex songs tonight, and he did not miss one note. While I am sorry that I did not stay up with Jack's career over the years, I am so thankful that I got to hear his work on his CDs and finally got a chance to see and hear him perform in person again. Jack Jones is truly one of the greatest singers of the "Great American Songbook". True to his professionalism, he performed for over 2 hours to a delighted and appreciative audience.