Contact: Jim Della Croce
Born in Hollywood, CA, Jack Jones’ list of hits spans several decades and generations. From ‘60s gems like “Wives and Lovers” and “Lollipops and Roses” to the iconic ‘80s TV theme “The Love Boat,” he truly has been a man for all seasons. With a catalog of 60-plus albums under his belt and now celebrating his 82nd year around the sun, Jones is as vital now as ever. Evidence of that is his soon-to-be-released album, produced by Tom Scott, called Every Other Day I Get the Blues (Calvary Records).
When I was in high school my father, who was a singer himself at the time, was not a jazz singer but a legit operatic singer. He wanted me to get a good foundation so I didn’t abuse my voice. He sent me to these two Frenchmen who were vocal teachers in Hollywood. I learned about breathing through the diaphragm and stuff like that. They helped me a lot.
I liked Mel Torme. There were quite a few instrumentalists, like the Dave Pell Octet. My head was in that direction, but I was singing pop. And the number one guy for all of us back in those days was Frank Sinatra. I didn’t wanna sound like Sinatra, but I wanted to think like him and phrase like him. I wanted to be that actor that he was when he sang.
Working With Michel Legrand
Back in the early ‘70s I flew to Paris to rehearse in the country with Michel Legrand. When we had the music rehearsed and we knew what we were doing, we went to this old church and all these wonderful musicians filed in. We didn’t know each other, but you could feel it happening as we started recording the first day. We bonded and it was a beautiful album. We weren’t just making tracks where I was in a soundproof room apart from the band. I was right there in the middle of them. At the end of the session I walked up to Michel, kissed him on the mouth, and said, “Thank you very much!” And he’s the only male I’ve ever kissed on the mouth (laughs). He was a brilliant man.
Keeping Songs Fresh
I just really like to tell good stories with the songs. I usually don’t do two ballads in a row unless there’s a good reason for it. I just like to make it interesting and make it feel good. I try to change things up.
I got a lot of flak for the song “Wives and Lovers” from the National Organization of Women. They spoke out against it. I was doing a theater-in-the-round in Massachusetts and as I was going to my car this woman wanted to punch me. It created so much drama and was so silly. I had to take the blame for it and I didn’t even write it; Burt Bachrach and Hal David did (laughs). I hesitate to talk about it, but I agree with the Me Too movement and think it’s disgusting what’s going on out there.
The New Blues Album
This is not your grandfather’s Jack Jones album. I’ve known Tom Scott for years and his arrangements are wonderful and full of energy. And the songs are not typical, either. We’ve got three or four on there by Keb’ Mo’. There are a lot of comedic and quirky things about it. It swings!
Best Career Advice
When I was starting out, a guy once told me you need to look at the audience and tell them your story. Bring them in to your world. I started out as a frightened singer who was not used to being in front of people and letting it all hang out. And I did it without drugs. Taking drugs is a way of losing your inhibitions, but that’s the worst thing you can do.
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