Born: August 27, 1961 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
KEN SLAVIN IS BACK - AFTER A NEARLY ONE-YEAR HIATUS TO REGROUP AND REFRESH!
Some critics compare him to a young Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett. Mel Torme or Johnny Hartman. One interviewer dubbed him “Mr. Tuxedo Voice.” Texas Monthly says he’s one of the “Swing Set.” In reality, his smooth baritone voice, sophisticated persona and easy-going performance style put him in a category all his own. But no matter how you describe him, there isn’t anybody on the music scene today quite like jazz crooner KEN SLAVIN.
A self-described late bloomer who began singing professionally 19 years ago at the ripe old age of 29, Ken has worked hard to develop his art and craft while carving a niche for himself in a South Texas city known more for its rock, country and Tejano roots than its classic jazz sensibility. Now 46, he recently was voted “Best Vocalist 2007” by readers of The San Antonio Current, and over the years has been nominated numerous times for other music awards by the same publication. His success has been all the more notable because he has held down a full-time marketing career by day while pursuing his true passion of vocal performance by night and on weekends. ...
Awards:"Best Musician, 2006" - San Antonio Current Music Awards "Readers' Pick: Best Vocalist, 2007" - San Antonio Current Music Awards
REVIEWS OF NEW CD, I'LL TAKE ROMANCE:
JIM SANTELLA, CADENCE: Jazz and cabaret singer Ken Slavin has what it takes to make heartsmelt: a deep baritone voice that fills the room and a sincere approachto lyrics that reach out tenderly with genuine passion. Originally fromConnecticut, he settled in San Antonio where he works today with localmusicians and visiting artists. His recording session centers on the piano trio, which helps to lift his voice over this program of familiar songs. With pianist Morris Nelms, double bassist Chuck Moses, and drummer Kevin Hess, the singer gives each song a gentle caress and a big hug. Up-tempo romps satisfy as thoroughly as do his slow ballads. “Just You, Just Me” works the best in this context, giving the session a sparkle through its quick pace and energetic pulse. With slow ballads, Slavin takes his time and fills each phrase with deep feeling. . .Overall, the singer’s clear diction adds considerably to his image as a persuasive saloon singer. . .Alto saxophone and trumpet sit in for several numbers, congas add spice to the Beguine arrangement of “Day by Day,” and strings make several brief appearances that blend into the instrumental mix seamlessly. Slavin feels as comfortable with Brazilian romance as he does with Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Jimmy Van Heusen, and Harold Arlen: honoring a timeless songbook that will never be forgotten.”
SCOTT YANOW, L.A. JAZZ SCENE: During an era when male jazz singers are few and far between, a new recording by Ken Slavin is a welcome event...On “I’ll Take Romance,” Ken Slavin sounds warm and expressive on the ballads while cooking on the uptempo tunes, most notably “Just You, Just Me.” He sticks to the lyrics while his phrasing gives the music a strong jazz feeling. Joined by pianist Morris Nelms’ trio, a few guest soloists (including trumpeter Al Gomez) and occasionally four violins, he swings his way through 16 standards including “Tea For Two,” “I’ll Take Romance,” “Day By Day” and “Summer Samba,” making the vintage material sound fresh and lively. This is a fun CD that is easily recommended to fans of the small field of male jazz singers.
GILBERT GARCIA -- SAN ANTONIO CURRENT: “A sultry, late-night ode to love...a seductive 16-song collection that features both the lushest texture (particularly with the string-laden bookends “Thoughts of Your Smile” and “I’ll Take Romance”) and the most intimate, casual vibe ever heard on a Slavin album...More than most contemporary interpreters of the Great American Songbook, Slavin delights in turning his material sideways, making even the most familiar tunes sound like new discoveries...”
JIM BEAL -- SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS: “Through hard work, determination, innate chops and...good sense...Slavin became a first-class singer with a repertoire that transcends nostalgia. And it hasn't hurt that Slavin has become a top-flight showman. ‘I'll Take Romance’ is a romantic effort indeed, packed with ballads including But Beautiful,... and Alone. To describe the CD as anything but beautiful would be a mistake. Though it's ballad heavy, with only a few selections, including Just You, Just Me and Day by Day, hitting the up category, Slavin's voice is excellent, Brake's production deft and the music, by Slavin's band and a few talented guests, is exactly what the songs call for.”
AARON PRADO -- KRTU 97.1 FM “JAZZ FOR SAN ANTONIO”: “The new CD is really special. We’ve been playing it pretty much every day since we got it, and I did a 30- minute feature a few weeks ago on the South Texas Jazz Project show. I hope the disc is getting national attention, because it deserves to be heard in L.A., New York City, etc.”
BRAD CHAMBERS -- “MARTINI IN THE MORNING” (INTERNET RADIO SHOW, SHERMAN OAKS, CA.): “Because we NEED guys like you with a passion for this music to get it in front of as many people as possible...I not only listened to I'll Take Romance, but we'll give it it's first Spin on MITM…YOU are the real hero in this Great American songbook renaissance we're seeing...so we're here to help...Can't wait to hear more...”
CD BABY -- RECOMMENDED JAZZ/EDITOR’S PICK: “Velvety, smooth and compelling classic jazz vocals by one of today's most exciting singers. Recommended if you like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Johnny Hartman.”
The Song is You (2001)
Tender is the Night (1996)
Fascinatin' Rhythm (1992)
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