Ron Kaplan

Ron Kaplan

 Santa Cruz, California, USA

Reminiscent of the great singers of the 1950's. Critics note his sophisticated phrasing, tone, and ability to get to the heart of a song with his own mark of musicianship, while carrying the torch of the Great American Songbook and vocal Jazz Standards. The Heart & Soul of a Mature Vocalist & Leader



"Ron Kaplan is an original personality in the world of jazz vocalists and he has managed to put his name into that previously closed inner circle. He has breathed new life into it by the sheer force of his style, for as you know, the style is the man himself. The Velvet Crooner and the elegant power of his seemingly casual phrasing is in fact, ultra-tight and perfectly seductive."
--Jean Szlamowicz, Jazz Hot

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 is the jazz capitol of the world. It is the home of Broadway theater, 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 was not 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 and, digital download locations (including, and Kaplan's own

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 "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 tunes are from the first half of the Twentieth Century, the stage is set with a song from the Seventies, Billy Joel: New York State of Mind. (He is saying that once you have been a New Yorker, you always feel the pull to go back to that city.). Lester Young: 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 is off on a historical ride around the city with the Billy Strayhorn classic Take the 'A' Train which became one of


Jumpin' With Symphony Sid

Written By: L. Young, B. Feyne

Gotta get hip and flip to the latest.
People who love to swing with the greatest.
There is a DJ show at a station, spinin' the hottest tunes in the Nation.
Symphony Sid a jive talkin' daddy, he's pickin' the goodies and never a baddie.

Out of this world, a real solid sender.
Fillin' the night with songs to remember.
Rhythm and Blues and Jazz, and of course he really comes on with Goodman and Dorsey.
We get all our kicks just diggin' those licks and jumpin' with Symphony Sid. All aboard.

Better tune in this Prince of the Platters.
Playin' 'em all and that's all that matters.
Dizzy 'n Duke and James with a killer.
Ella and Bing and Basie and Miller. Get on the move, it's gonna be groovy.
Jumpin' with Symphony Sid.
All aboard, all aboard, all aboard.
Jumpin' with Symphony Sid

On Broadway

Written By: B. Mann, C. Weil, M. Stoller, J. Leiber, R. Kaplan

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway.
They say there's always magic in the air.
But when you're walkin' down the street, and you ain't had enough to eat.
The glitter rubs right off and you're nowhere.

They say the women treat you fine on Broadway.
But lookin' at them just gives me the blues.
'Cause how you gonna make some time, when all you got is one think dime, and one thin dime won't even shine your shoes.

They say that I won't last too long on Broadway.
I'll catch a Greyhound Bus for home they say.
But they're dead wrong, I know they are.
I'll sing in every lounge and bar, and I won't quit 'till I'm a star on Broadway.


High Standards
Lounging Around
Jazz Ambassadors
New York
Singing the Great American Songbook

Set List

This depends on the venue and the setting. Can be a Duo in a Lounge or Cabaret situation, or a rollicking uptempo Jazz set. RonKaplan sings the Great American Songbook and Jazz Standards Repertoire and works with 1-5 instrumentalists depending on the configuration requested and the budget available

(Ron has well over 150 songs in his repertoire)
(A typical set is one hour or more based on time allocated and nature of the gig)
Ron has developed one hour shows that can be stretched 15 minutes either way.
1. New York
(all songs about NY from RK's CD by the same title)

2. The Great American Songbook
(a collection of songs from RK's recording entitled
Singing the Great American Songbook)