Ron Kaplan
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Ron Kaplan

Santa Cruz, California, United States | INDIE

Santa Cruz, California, United States | INDIE
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"Singing the Great American Songbook"

American Songbook Preservation Society...Singing the Great American Songbook
By A. J. Julian

Ronald S. Kaplan has spent most of his time as a singer pursuing his musical talent in the San Francisco area.

It has never been easy for an independent performer to get the World to take notice of their creative work and keep them motivated in this situation.

Mr. Kaplan has had to assume the difficulty of creating his own independent record company to document his work. Along with this, he has taken on many roles; as the performing artist, producer, marketing and promotion, and the booking agent.

In addition to this, he has created another undertaking for his engaging life and love for the Composers and Music of what has become known as "The Great American Songbook".
This has led to his creation of "American Songbook Preservation Society".

The Mission is to Preserve our musical cultural treasure known as the Great American Songbook, by presenting this music to the public at home and abroad as Ambassadors of Song.

This recording, "Singing the Great American Songbook" is the production from a benefit concert given by Ron Kaplan at Kuumbwa jazz Center on January 25, 2007.
Assisting him in this concert were stellar players Marshall Otwell-piano and Stan Poplin-bass.

The recording consists of a 14 track program selecting interesting choices of tunes for the album. The program of tunes consists of familiar but not overdone standards such as: two tunes from the Duke Ellington book, "Drop Me Off In Harlem" and "Solitude", Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer's "Out Of This World", Cole Porter's "I get A Kick Out Of You", and George & Ira Gershwin's "Love Is Here To Stay".

Ron Kaplan has a gentle, swinging, sense of phrasing and reads the lyrics like they were written.

This concert and album renews your faith in the strength of the great material performed by three Superlative Musicians. It is an outstanding contribution to the wonderful Great American Songbook, that over the years has become a mostly unprolific musical landscape.

- By A. J. Julian

""Singing the Great American Songbook""

"Singing the Great American Songbook"
POSTED BY: Eric Lawrence
“Singing the Great American Songbook" by jazz vocalist Ron Kaplan (for the American Songbook Preservation Society) is a live CD capturing the performance of a benefit concert given by Mr. Kaplan at The Kuumbwa Jazz Center on January 25, 2007. Kaplan is joined by the stellar musicians Marshall Otwell on the piano and Stan Poplin on bass. This release captures the sound and spirit of this live show beautifully, with each musician shining both individually and collectively. Kaplan has a gentle, swinging style of phrasing and his sidemen provide wonderful support and solos throughout. They begin the set with spirited interpretations of Duke Ellington’s “Drop Me Off in Harlem” and “Solitude,” with Kaplan in fine form. Otwell provides intelligent figures and swinging solos over Poplin’s steady bass. Also included is a great rendition of Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You,” with Kaplan’s vocals dancing on top of the rhythmic piano of Otwell, anchored by the solid bass lines of Poplin. Another highlight is an enchanting version of Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer’s “Out of This World,” with soaring vocals from Kaplan and fiery solos by both Otwell & Poplin. A touching interpretation of the jazz ballad “Willow Weep for Me” showcases the trio’s sensitivity. The trio closes the night with a playful performance of George & Ira Gershwin’s “Love Is Here to Stay,” with lively vocals from Kaplan and splashy solos contributed from both Otwell and Poplin. This concert and album is a great example of timeless material performed by three extremely talented musicians; a wonderful contribution to the Great American Songbook. Fans of male jazz vocals in the style of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett will want to check “Singing the Great American Songbook” out.
-Rodney and the Reviewer Team
Check out Ron Kaplan 's music on with link to purchase and links to popular sites
- Reviewed by

"Ron Kaplan New York"

Ron Kaplan
New York
Kapland Records

Ron Kaplan, Vocals, Larry Dunlap, Piano, Seward McCain, Bass, Akira
Tana, Drums, Erik Jekabson, Trumpet, Noel Jewkes, Sax / Clarinet.

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
- EJazz News

"Ron Kaplan New York"

Volume 30/Number 354


RON KAPLAN/New York: 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.

- Midwest Record

"Ron Kaplan Jazz Ambassadors"

Ron Kaplan Jazz Ambassadors
Kapland Records
If you favor a tall, rich cup full of enjoyment ground from the best of the Great American Songbook, here's jazz that is 100% pure, hot and strong. With Eddie Mendenhall (piano), Steve Robertson (drums) and Dan Robbins (bass), Ron Kaplan delivers nine solid vocal performances with all the smoke and sincerity of the great jazz performers of the '50's. Kicking things off with the Ellington/Mills classic "It Don't Mean a Thing," Ron demonstrates his ability to swing with a taste of growling grittiness. The fourth cut, "Stolen Moments/The Blues And The Abstract Truth", is an original (with music by Oliver Nelson) in which Kaplan creates a dynamite groove with plenty of room for his own vocal scatting and the player's solos. Other favorites include his oh-so-smooth work on "September Song" and "Green Dolphin Street," a personal favorite that, until recently, had sort of slipped off the mainstream jazz singer's repertoire.

If you are a Thelonious Monk fan, you'll no doubt be hitting the repeat button after "Round Midnight." Track to track, Kaplan's vocal interpretations exude the sincerity, tight phrasing and feel for the swing that can only come from the heart of a genuine jazz singer.

- Singer Magazine

"Ron Kaplan Dedicated"

Ron Kaplan Dedicated
Kapland Records

Ron Kaplan: vocals, Martan Mann: piano & strings, Stan Poplin: bass,
Dan Brubeck: drums, Dmitri Matheny: flugelhorn, Dale Mills: alto & tenor sax,
Donny McCaslin, Jr.: soprano sax, Kenny Stahl: flute, Terrel Eaton: alto sax.

Ron Kaplan was born in Hollywood, California into a musical family and is an avid fan of the Great American Songbook. His latest recording entitled “Dedicated”; his third release is a treasure trove of classic songs with sumptuous instrumentation performed by the cream of West Coast musicians.

He has chosen a wide range of songs for the set including the Bacharach and David “What The World Needs Now” which is also a timely tribute to the world we currently live in, Billy Holiday’s beautiful and sentimental “Autumn In New York”, the wonderful Sinatra favourite “I Concentrate On You” amongst the album’s killer cuts, the flute of Kenny Stahl is particularly haunting on the latter.

Ron has the easy style of Mel Torme, the phrasing of Sammy Davis Jr and the panache and delivery of Dick Farney or Bobby Caldwell, songs like Johnny Mercer’s “One for My Baby” and “Girl Talk” have his native Hollywood written all over it and could be used in a remake of a Dick Tracy movie. This has all the trimmings of the old “Rat Pack” vocalists when the artists performed in front of candlelit, linen covered tables and communicated directly to the audience. Ron has that “put-you-at-ease” phraseology and charm.

His arrangements on tracks like “Old Devil Moon” with it’s calypso feel and Arturo Sandoval styled interlude played by Dmitri Matheny and the piano trio featured on “It Could Happen To You” feature his warm and sophisticated phrasing blending with water tight instrumentation.

The album is something you can sit down and relax and drift into a world of cabaret, footlights and razzamatazz, from the opening bars to the closing reprise “Dedicated is a polished album by a sincere and genuinely compassionate vocalist and will immerse the listener into a bittersweet bliss.

… Wes Gillespie, EuroClubdeJazz
- EuroClubdeJazz

"Ron Kaplan Lounging Around"

Jazz Improv Magazine
Vol 2 Number 3

LOUNGING AROUND-Kapland Records, PO Box 742, Aptos, CA 95001; Email:; Web Page: Here's That Rainy Day; Blues In The Night; Cry Me A River; I Surrender Dear; How Insensitive, Just One Of Those Things; Caravan; No One Ever Tells You; Moanin'; In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning; What A Wonderful World

PERSONNEL: Ron Kaplan, vocals, Larry Scala, guitar; Guiseppe Merolla, drums; Perry Thoorsell, bass; Donny McCaslin, tenor sax; Steve Czarnecki, Hammond B-3 organ; Dmitri Matheny, flugelhorn.

By Eric Nemeyer

Some artists create albums for their own enjoyment. Some artists create recordings for the apparent purpose of showing off their incredible technique to impress listeners, record executives and anyone they can get to lend an ear. Ron Kaplan is different. Ron Kaplan has impeccable taste. It's quite evident that Kaplan's second self-produced recording, Lounging Around is sensitively put together for the listener's enjoyment.

Kaplan has chosen a set of eleven appealing songs from the repertoire of Great American standards and jazz tunes.

Kaplan opens the set with a relaxed rendition of the Johnny Burke-Jimmy Van Heusen classic, "Here's That Rainy Day," as a bossa nova. Kaplan has a distinctive and identifiable sound that is quite evident here. Donny McCaslin, a standout among today's active young tenor sax players, contributes a sparkling solo.

Kaplan employs some short, playful and apropos sound effects on this album. On "Here's That Rainy Day" the music is preceded with the sound of rain in the background; and you'll hear the sound of a whistle from a train chugging along, during the night, somewhere down the track, as the opening to "Blues In The Night."

On "Blues in The Night" Kaplan's intimate and elegant sound is tantalizingly supported by the down-home textures of Steve Czarnecki on Hammond B-3, and Larry Scala on guitar.

Next up is an Antonio Carlos Jobim favorite, "How Insensitive." In the distance, you hear the echo of a lonely muted trumpet, out of tempo, playing a pensive cadenza--hinting at the sadness of the upcoming lyric. The rhythm section enters gracefully and--unexpectedly for this listener provides Kaplan with an up-tempo samba groove. Kaplan delivers. Kaplan deftly communicates the mood and emotion of the lyric, which is all about the heartfelt end of a love affair.

Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things" is a medium up-tempo groover. A catchy introduction by McCaslin on tenor also serves as the jumping off point for his in-the-pocket solo. This track is just right for Kaplan. Just the right tempo, the tune gives Kaplan the right space to demonstrate his ability to swing.

"Caravan," the classic by Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol, opens with a tango-like ostinato bass line. The other accompanists enter gently, and are shortly followed by Kaplan's smooth entrance, bringing the song and the players into focus. Tenor saxophonist McCaslin and Scala on guitar follow with tasteful solos.

Kaplan's pensive rendition of "In The Wee Small Hours of The Morning" is captivating. Accompanied during the first chorus by solo guitar, this performance is an example of Kaplan's most sensitive and thoughtful work. Kaplan. Metheny and Scala fit together ideally to make magic on this one. Matheny's flugelhorn solo is debonair.

Some artists use diversity to anthologize themselves and prove that they can be everything to everybody. Kaplan employs diversity for the benefit of the listener, and Lounging Around is an example of the use of diversity to personalize this album to please the listener.

- Jazz Improv

"Ron Kaplan High Standards"

Ron Kaplan - High Standards

Ron Kaplan, Smith Dobson. Donny McCaslin Jr., Paul Contos, Stan Poplin, Steve Robertson. Kapland Records

Jazz singers come and go; few have staying power. Kaplan is one you can bet will be around for some time. First, he's a true jazz singer who knows his way around a tune, swinging in the irreverent manner that made singers like Mark Murphy, Jackie Paris and Mel Tormé stars. Kaplan's a musician first and foremost, using his voice as an integral part of the jazz mode. His take on Summertime is a knockout, the man is in charge of the set. When he performs the old Dizzy Gillespie composition A Night in Tunisia he fits the music like a glove offering enough personal differences to make you pay attention. As a piece of variety, he takes Antonio Carlos Jobim's Dindi, leading off in a conversational manner. When Frank Sinatra made a hit out of the tune, it was that of a pop singer adapting the Brazilian music to his own talents; here Kaplan does the same but there's an even deeper jazz touch to the music. And much has to be said about this supporting cast, notably McCaslin Jr. on tenor sax and Dobson on piano, who contribute to this memorable interpretation. McCaslin's horn leads off the Mel Tormé composition, Born to Be Blue but Kaplan's voice, sad and emotion-filled, maintains the very bluesy feel of the tune. McCaslin Jr. and Dobson round out the music giving the whole entry a deeper and impressive result. Although Horace Silver's trademark tune, Song For My Father has rarely been performed as a vocal, when you hear Kaplan deliver the lyrics, you realize that, as good as Silver was instrumentally, Kaplan has performed very deserving words to the music. And giving credit where credit is certainly due, Dobson's piano work on the music is expert and Poplin's bass and the soft drums of Robertson make this a very unique and impressive outing for all concerned.

There are many goodies on this disc. Autumn Leaves, Angel Eyes, Lazy Afternoon and My Favorite Things are other fine offerings. And when Kaplan returns to the works of Horace Silver with Senor Blues you know that Kaplan is very special, indeed. The slap-dash piano, the Poplin bass and Robertson's percussion make the whole disc a beauty. W.Y.

- Rapport

"High Standards"

In Tune International
The magazine for lovers of the golden age of popular music

High Standards

What you have here is one of the most original singers to come along in quite some time from the jazz singing school of Mark Murphy and Tony Bennett polished off with some unique and handy swinging. This ten song varied program of jazz and popular standards has much to offer. His most fanciful and swift 'take no prisoner's' rendition of Heyward and Gershwin's "Summertime" swings to and fro up and down the scales. On the ballad side you simply must hear the seldom performed but very well suited for Ron, Torme/Wells "Born To Be Blue". Ultimate phrasing and superior mood setting frequently abounds. "Angel Eyes" (Dennis/Brent) conjures up a deep, profound tale of loss. It's a song that should only be sung by an experienced 'been there done that' singer of songs. There is no slick unfeeling way to satisfactorily do this masterpiece. Ron has another CD called "Lounging Around" also on Kapland.

--By Dan Singer

- In Tune International

"Ron Kaplan Saloon"

Featured Artist: RON KAPLAN & WEBER IAGO
CD Title: Saloon

Record Label: Kapland Records
Style: Jazz Vocals

Muscians: Ron Kaplan (vocals), Weber Iago (piano)

Review: Ron Kaplan is a crusader without a cape. His mission is to perpetuate the tradition of American popular song and everything that goes with it.

This, his fifth album, is aptly titled Saloon. The California – born jazz singer and his Brazilian born accompanist Weber Iago bring back the flavor the famed Tony Bennett – Bill Evans album for Fantasy in 1975. Saloon creates a similar mood without echoing the Bennett/ Evans songs themselves. Kaplan and Iago create the illusion of an intimate but classy little jazz room. The singer has a relaxed and elegant jazz style that lends itself perfectly to the compositions of Gershwin, Jobim, Ellington and Bacharach.

The duo doesn't dig too deeply through the years with the oldest pieces being the Duke's "I'm Just A Lucky So And So" and Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" and "'S Wonderful" done in medley style. Most songs fall comfortably into the memories of anyone born within the last four decades. This reviewer's favorites are "Willow Weep For Me" and Jobim's "Agua De Beber." The latter features some inventive efforts by both singer and pianist. The album closes with a memorable reading of "Who Can I Turn To" penned by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

Saloon would be a fine addition to your next quiet dinner with someone special. It's a charmer!

Tracks: I'm Just A Lucky So And So, It Was A Very Good Year, 'S Wonderful, I Got Rhythm, Alfie, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Desafinado, Willow Weep For Me, Agua De Beber, Who Can I Turn To.

Artist's Site:

Reviewed By: Richard Bourcier


© 2005

- Jazz


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




"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