New York After Dark
Legendary Bay Area jazz pianist & vocalist Frank Jackson, has long been recognized as a brilliant jazz pianist, vocalist & stand-up vocalist who is highly respected for his vocals. So the late great James Williams, a personal friend of Frank's, who kept after him for years finally persuaded Frank to let James produce and record a CD with Frank as a male stand-up vocalist in New York. James told Frank, you're the 'real deal' and let me put the band together and setup the recording studio and we'll go from there. And wow did he setup the band, the late great James Williams, piano & producer, Ron Carter, bass, Kenny Washington, drums and Billy Pierce soprano and tenor saxophones. All the great jazz singers were also piano players at one time. Like Nat King Cole, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughn, even Ella Fitzgerald could play piano but always was up front as singer of the band. Nat's piano playing was incredible; however, he went to the top with his vocals. And Frank being in his late 70s, has a stellar voice sounding like he's in his mid-50s, and woes his audiences. Frank Jackson has heard it all, sung it all and met them all. He has performed with and for the greats: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Lionel Hampton, Gerald Wilson, Ron Carter, the late great James Williams just to name a few. Frank started singing when he was a small child growing up in Cleburne, Texas. His Mother always encouraged him to sing especially in the Church. Frank loved music and always listened on the radio to anything he could. He had a vast repertoire' before he even learned to play piano. Refer to Frank's full bio under CDs 'I Should Care' and 'Swingin' And All Dressed to Go' Jazz Times proclaimed his recent CD, New York After Dark, 'a consistently fine assemblage of standards, the sprightly Jackson, sounding decades younger than his 78 years, smolders and swings.' Jazz Improv wrote, 'Jackson likes his standards swingin' and straight-ahead in the tradition of Nat King Cole or Johnny Hartmann, and he can scat gracefully and effortlessly.' **************** FRANK JACKSON - 'NEW YORK AFTER DARK' Recorded in New York November 2003 Released October 2004 Released by Kasis Records, LLC, San Francisco, CA, USA 2004 Critics Poll Choice Musicians Featured: Frank Jackson, Vocals & Co-producer James Williams, Piano, Organ & Producer - The Late Great Ron Carter, Bass Kenny Washington, Drums Billy Pierce, Soprano & Tenor Saxophones **************** Bob Blumenthal - Marsalis Music Excerpt from Liner Notes - New York After Dark: 'Jackson has listened, learned and honed his skills for over 60 years. In the process, he has developed an approach to singing that is both completely his own and, in it's ability to touch a listener, universal.' 'Jackson consistently reveals what may be a jazz singer's greatest gift, the ability to inhabit a lyric in a manner that persuades listeners that he is singing to them and them alone.' ***************** Listed below are some of the press reviews for 'New York After Dark:' ***************** Jazz Improve Magazine Summer 2005, Vol. 5 No. 4 Review by Bill Donaldson 'Jackson likes his standards swingin' and straight-ahead in the tradition of Nat King Cole or Johnny Hartman, and he can scat gracefully and effortlessly. New York After Dark brings to light a 'new' singer who has been entertaining audiences for over half a century, and fortunately whose voice still sounds like that of someone decades younger than Frank Jackson, who at this time of recording was 78. The album is a treat for many reasons.' ***************** Jazz Journal International - England July 2005, Vol. 58 No. 7 Review by Bruce Crowther Emphasis 'his nicely understated approach, marks Jackson as a mature & thoughtful singer, his vocal sound a pleasing light baritone suggests a man perhaps in his late forties or fifties, easy to understand Jackson's popularity & anticipates his New York After Dark will spread his reputation further afield within the USA & abroad. Jackson appeals equally to jazzers and the friends of Good Songs.' ***************** JazzTimes - America's Jazz Magazine March 2005 (Volume 35/Number 2) Reviews VOX - By Christopher Loudon Boasting as sterling a legacy as Jimmy Norman, San Francisco's legendary singer-pianist FRANK JACKSON has heard it all, sung it all and met them all. He went to school with Cal Tjader and Vince Guaraldi, hung with neighbor Teddy Edwards and played with and for Louis Armstrong,Ben Webster, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker. In recent years, Jackson has earned renewed interest across the Bay Area with his back-to-back discs I SHOULD CARE and SWINGIN' AND ALL DRESSED TO GO. Now, at last, he's crossed the Golden Gate and traveled all the way to Manhattan (making, he claims, his first visit to the Big Apple) for the twilight delight that is NEW YORK AFTER DARK (Kasis Records, LLC). For this consistently fine assemblage of standards, the sprightly Jackson sounding decades younger than his 78 years, leaves keyboard duties to the late, great James Williams (who died far too young, at age 53, last July 2004), and surrounds himself with three other world-class champs: bassist Ron Carter, drummer Kenny Washington and saxophonist Billy Pierce. Alternately smoldering and swinging, this baker's dozen of polished chestnuts, spanning the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Vernon Duke, Rodgers and Hart, a boppin' 'Yardbird Suite' and Johnson's own, tear-stained 'It's Monday Everyday' is a top-drawer testament to a regional giant who's long, long overdue for some national attention. ***************** Singer Magazine - No. 32 April 2005 Indie Artist Spotlight (Magazine now known as Singer & Musician) Review by Robert A. Lindquist With roots that run deep in the San Francisco jazz scene, 78-year-old Frank Jackson has performed with the greats - Cal Tjader, Vince Guaraldi, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Ben Webster, to mention just a few. During his lengthy career he's developed a style and sound that's truly his own. His voice remains in great shape. His smooth vibrato, great sense of swing, and effective use of dynamics is natural, and there's just enough smoke around the edges to make it consistently interesting from start to finish. Backing him up on this collection are James Williams on piano, Ron Carter on bass, Billy Pierce on sax, and Kenny Washington on drums. Among the best cuts, in this reviewer's opinion, are 'What Is This Thing Called Love,' 'Oh You Crazy Moon,' and 'Yardbird Suite.' On the swing side are such classics as 'You Go To My Head,' 'You Are Too Beautiful,' and 'Baby I'm Yours.' This is a real class presentation and one that every fledgling jazz singer or player should have in their collection - a great opportunity to hear a voice that the Bay Area has been appreciating for over sixty years. **************** ejazznews - www.ejazznews.com February 2005 Review by John Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org) Still active at 78, San Francisco's Frank Jackson proves that there's still a great deal of emotional depth to be plumbed within the Great American Songbook while working in what could well be described as a traditional manner. Traditional, in a medium as fluid as jazz? If one defines it as an approach that marries respect for the inherent dignity and thoroughly adult sensibilites of these timeless masterpieces with an innate sense of swing and impeccable phrasing, then yes, Jackson is traditional. Add in an unmistakeable aura of old-fashioned romance, too, as Jackson, while clearly wearing his heart on his sleeve, keeps things as elegant as candlelight and as sophisticated as a champagne cocktail. Over the course of a decades-long career, Jackson's worked with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Duke Ellington. Yet while he's a pianist himself, here it's the late James Williams, on one of his final dates, who tackles the piano chores and leads his hand-picked band through a number of standards (You Go To My Head, Autumn in New York, Summertime, and What Is This Thing Called Love) and a handful of lesser-known tunes. Jackson was determined to make this disc swing, and frequently ups the tempo of his ballads accordingly, even tossing in a bit of scat here and there. Yet there's always something languid in his approach, combined with a relaxed assurance that recalls Johnny Hartman. The band - bassist Ron Carter, drummer Kenny Washington, with Billy Pierce contributing sax to a few - provide stellar support, gliding effortlessly from subtle shadings behind Jackson to sparkling solos that toy with yet never stray too far from the melody. It sometimes seems everyone's rediscovering jazz standards these days, with even pop stars giving them a whirl. HOWEVER STURDY THE COMPOSITIONS, THOUGH, HOWEVER IMPERVIOUS TO LESS-THAN TASTEFUL INTERPRETATION, FRANK JACKSON REMINDS US THAT THIS IS THE WAY THEY WERE WRITTEN AND THE WAY THEY WERE MEANT TO BE SUNG. Timeless, tasteful and true...a fine collection by an artist of distinction. RECOMMENDED!!! **************** 2004 TWIRLIE NOMINATIONS - January 2005 From: Dick Crockett 'The Voice' 88.7FM Male Vocalists: Frank Jackson NEW YORK AFTER DARK Among the Group: Ray Charles GENIUS LOVES COMPANY Andy Bey AMERICAN SONG Bobby Darin ACES BACK TO BACK Giacomo Gates CENTERPIECE Peter Cincotti ON THE MOON Jon Hendricks REUNION *************** All Music Guide, * By Ken Dryden 'Jackson a young 78 at the time of the recording sessions here on New York After Dark, returns to his first love, displaying a seasoned voice that doesn't show the ravages of time at all. It's a shame that Frank Jackson hasn't been recorded more frequently during his long career, but perhaps this rewarding CD will open new doors for him.' December 2005 **************** The Musician's Ombudsman By George W. Carroll wrote of New York After Dark, 'I have to confess that I'm grooving... The opening volley of 'You Go To My Head' is delivered by Jackson with a musical authority, plus a certain idiomatic diversity evident in his easy vocal intonation. Awesome artistry to insure as close to a perfect project that his humanly possible. I'll cut to the chase. This disc is a win-win-winner!!! Fall 2004 ***************.