"Silky smooth and swingin', Jonathan Poretz's voice beautifully wraps around a lyric and lets the song soar!"
Jan Wahl, KCBS Radio, KRON-TV, San Francisco (May 1, 2006)
Frank Sinatra's footwear makes for some tough shoes to fill. But judging by A Lot of Livin' to Do, San Francisco-based vocalist Jonathan Poretz has done an able job of rendering Old Blue Eyes in “Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean (The Rat Pack),” a show with performances in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Boston. Not that Poretz sounds like Sinatra on the recording. With a delivery that is closer to that of another Sinatra-influenced singer, Bobby Darin, Poretz comes across silky, swinging and cool as hell, sort of a cross between Darin and Mel Torme.
The title tune, a classic American Songbook standard, opens the set, popping to life on some subdued Latin-flavored percussion behind Poretz, who is a bit hushed at first, before the band cranks things up into a more characteristically—for the tune—jaunty mode. And man, can this guy Poretz scat, loose and insouciant—a bit of a lost art, it sometimes seems, in the male vocalist field.
That sets the stage for the rest of the set, which is comprised of a bunch of familiar tunes out of the Songbook: “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “I'll Remember April,” the always beautiful (and especially so here) Rodgers and Hart jewel “It Never Entered My Mind” and “I See Your Face Before Me.” “Just One of Those Things” finds Poretz backed by a flexible rhythm team, along with Noel Jewkes' smoky, moody wee hours tenor saxophone; “I'll Remember April” features his clarinet, and Antonio Carlos Jobim's “How Insensitive” his flute.
And I can't close without mentioning the sound, which is very crisp and clean, with subtle “live” resonance, like sitting in a small, half-filled nightclub, close to the stage.
Dan McClenaghan - AllAboutJazz.com (May 19, 2006)
"If you take a superb ensemble and add a fine singer that explores the American love song with due deference, you will have a delightful mix that is easy on the ear. Jonathan Poretz' vocal along with a smoldering tenor solo by Noel Jewkes makes "Then I'll Be Tired Of You" a ballad
that that will catch your attention and linger long after the last note.
"A catchy piano intro by Lee Bloom followed by Poretz' solid vocal on the brightly done "Come Rain Or Come Shine" is a fine tribute to this Arlen/Mercer classic.
"'Just One Of Those Things' is one of those chestnuts that bears repeated spinnings..Some 4 bar exchanges between Poretz' scatting and Jewkes tenor gives this tune a new dimension. This number, in my estimation, is the highlight of this album.
"A lover of the Great American Songbook will find this recording irresistible and a pleasant departure from the state of music in these troubled musical times. This is a super CD with a talented singer and top notch accompaniment. 5 Stars
John Gilbert - ejazznews (May 10, 2006)
Jonathan Poretz Bio
Some say he was born with a microphone in his hand. That would explain why Jonathan Poretz is so comfortable performing his brand of great American jazz standards to audiences large and small. Whether appearing in an intimate club or a large outdoor venue, Jonathan brings an electric energy to any stage he’s on, a talent he’s been cultivating since his early teens, when he sang professionally in bands that featured jazz greats including Charlie Shavers, Chuck Wayne and Joe Puma in his home town of New York City.
Blending the swinging vocal stylings of Sinatra, Torme, Bennett and Darin, Jonathan is equally comfortable performing with a trio or a 17-piece big band, putting his own unique stamp on every song he sings and every story he tells through the great American standard songbook.
Jonathan has been appearing as Frank Sinatra in the “Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean (The Rat Pack)” in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Boston. He also appears regularly at various Bay Area venues, including LJ’s Martini Club, Jazz @ Shanghai 1930 and The Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay.
He is also a regular vocalist with the Harold Jones Boss Men big band, led by legendary drummer Harold Jones, the beat behind Count Basie in the ‘70s and Sarah Vaughan in the ‘80s, and currently on tour with Tony Bennett. Past appearances with the Boss Men included performances at the Russian River and Calistoga Jazz Festivals in the fall of 2004.
Jonathan can also be heard as the featured vocalist for the Starduster Orchestra big band and the Joe Agro Sextet, performing swinging standards at public venues, such as the Sausalito Arts Fair, the Caledonia Street Fair and Jazz and Blues by the Bay in Sausalito as well as various private events in the Bay Area.