Jack Jones has been in the music industry long enough to learn that, while recordings come and go, concerts are forever.
The veteran vocalist realizes that theory contradicts conventional wisdom, which considers concerts ephemeral, as having no afterlife beyond the audience’s memory. Albums pass into perpetuity.
But the past six decades have enabled Jones to pass through conventional wisdom and emerge out the other side believing that, while records establish a career and a persona, concertizing is the constant in any performer’s career.
“It’s how many people enjoyed the show ... that’s the only reason a lot of us are still in the business,” Jones told me once in an interview. “I’ve always had the attitude where I wanted to go on stage.”
Jones will bring that attitude with him when he performs September 19-21 at Feinstein’s in the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco.
In his 20s, Jones wanted to sell records. Born to show-business parents – Allan Jones and Irene Hervey were romantic leads in 1930s and ‘40s Hollywood – he made his professional debut at 19 with his father at the Las Vegas Thunderbird Hotel.
Jones signed soon after with Kapp Records and scored a handful of hits as the British Invasion arrived. He twice won best male vocal performance Grammy Awards and reached the top 20 with “The Race is On” in 1965. His “The Impossible Dream” spent 15 weeks on the album chart the following year.
“Back then, I wasn’t the one who was always concerned with how many sales and what was going to be a hit,” he said. “But the company guided me and asked me to perform certain songs that they thought were going to be commercial.
“And sometimes, I took performances a little bit too much for granted. Sometimes, when you’re young, you’re tired and you’re running from place to place, you can tend to slough something off. Now, I greet every audience with open arms and they are all equally important.”
Acting has been a sideline through much of Jones’ career. His parents both started on the stage before moving to Hollywood and he’s done plenty of musical theater over the years, as well as decades of television work.
And now film. Jones earlier this year joined the cast of David O’Russell’s political thriller “American Hustle.” The cast includes Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner. The movie – which focuses on Abscam, the FBI sting operation involving a fictional Middle East sheikh that resulted in the 1981 convictions of a senator and five representatives – is due for release in December.
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