Sep. 4-10, 2008

The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel; Tue 9–Sept 20

The ’60s were the heyday of the swinging crooner, and Sinatra set the image: macho, swaggering, nicotine-stained, alluringly dangerous. Then there was Jack Jones, who would never have made the Rat Pack. Born of a silver-screen tenor, Allan Jones, he was Ken-doll handsome, and sang in a robust and sunny baritone. Neither his chauvinistic hit of 1963, “Wives and Lovers,” nor the babe on his arm (actress Jill St. John, his wife in the late ’60s) marred his wholesome air.

Jones made a dramatic interpretive breakthrough on his 1971 album,
Jack Jones Sings Michel Legrand, but by then such records were landing on the commercial junk pile. At the height of disco fever, Jones ended up singing the theme from The Love Boat, which became his ball-and-chain; he also played a washed-up (and often shirtless) pop idol in the British gore shocker The Comeback.

Today Jones is a silver fox of 70, and time has mussed him up in the best of ways. His once-honey-smooth voice is attractively craggy; his delivery has a touch of sexy arrogance. Jones also swings like he never did in the ’60s, with breath control worthy of a swim champ, and his ballads are pretty enough to induce sighs. He’ll sing here with a trio led by the dean of pop-jazz accompanists, Mike Renzi, the first choice of Sinatra, Peggy Lee and Lena Horne in their autumn years. Jones’s have proven to be his best.