“Play that again! That’s one of the most brilliant performances I’ve ever heard. Who the hell is this kid?” asked Frank Sinatra to a lady friend, upon seeing a video of Billy Vera singing his #1 smash “At This Moment.” And every time he visited the lady, he made her play it again.
This is the album I've always wanted to make, It's my dream album with a Big Band in the Basie-Ellington tradition," Billy remarks. Having spent the early part of my career working in the Rhythm & Blues field, I've always wanted to tribute the great those great songwriters" he continued.
Admired by his peers, loved by his fans and honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Billy has had successful hits that span decades, both as a singer and a songwriter. His songs have been recorded by such singers as Lou Rawls, Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Etta James, Fats Domino, Tom Jones, George Benson, and Robert Plant. Current hit-making crooner Michael Buble' continues to chart with Vera’s signature song.
With his rich soulful sound, Vera’s early career was spent in black show business. He played the Apollo Theater to standing ovations and, with his duet partner, Judy Clay, had hits on the R&B and pop charts. Later, his signature song “At This Moment,” was recorded by Billy Vera and his band The Beaters. The song landed him all over television thanks to its popularity on the sitcom Family Ties. From stints on American Bandstand to nine appearances on the Tonight Show, (where he was Johnny Carson’s favorite singer, after Tony Bennett) the song still hasn’t stopped spinning on the airwaves.
A huge fan of the big band sounds of Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and having produced four albums for singer Lou Rawls on Blue Note and Savoy Records, Vera always wanted to record a big band album himself. In Summer of 2012, he ventured into the famed Studio A at Capitol Records Studios, and began creating his dream album. He wanted a theme that set him apart from the rest of today's jazz crooners: a salute to the great black songwriters of the 1920's, 30's and 40's, those forgotten roots of the music he loves.
The album will boast a diverse Big Band track list. Besides Duke’s “Just A-Sittin’ And A- Rockin’” and Basie’s “Blue And Sentimental,” Vera’s impeccable taste chose Louis Armstrong’s theme song, “When It’s Sleepytime Down South,” Buddy Johnson’s “Since I Fell For You” and “If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight),” by the great Harlem stride pianist, James P. Johnson for his album.
To add a little spice and sass, he duets with Tamela D’Amico, one of the best young jazz singers around, on the Benny Benjamin composed “I’ll Never Be Free." I am so proud to be a part of this venture, and Billy's history that spans 50 years in the music business" remarked D'Amico. His deliciously smooth voice was made for this music, as he can swing with the best of them. Getting to work in the studio and sing with him on 'I'll Never Be Free' was such a joy, especially given the fact that we are friends beyond the music world."
The album is arranged by Grammy nominee Chris Walden, one of the most in demand arrangers on the music scene today...and produced by Grammy winner Jimmy Hoyson. Vera’s own songwriting is on display with “Room With A View,” co-written with blues legend Lowell Fulson. As a bonus, to honor his own history, the album will feature a big band version of “At This Moment” that fans are sure to love.
This is an album that is destined to be on every hipster’s must have list!
The Big Band Jazz CD will be available in stores January 2013 and released digitally November13th, 2013 on Robo Records, wherever digital music is sold.
- If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)
- Since I Fell For You
- When It's Sleepy Time Down South
- I Want To Be Loved (But Only By You)
- My Little Brown Book
- Just a-Sittin' and a-Rockin'
- Blue and Sentimental
- I'll Never Be Free
- Room With A View
- At This Moment (Big Band - Bonus Track)