"...She may be the most accomplished interpreter of popular material performing today..."
The New York Times
Good News From Marlene!
My latest CD, "Ballads...mostly" four 2013 Top Ten Best lists: Nancy Barrel's Radio Show, from NYC, Don Albert, jazz journalist, from South Africa, David Kenney's Old Is New Internet show, and it ranked #1 on Joe Lang's "Jazz Journal Association Best of 2013 Vocal CD" Top Ten.You can order the "Ballads...mostly" here.
It was a very busy 2013, and 2014 shows no sign of slowing down. The US and UK schedules include many different venues: Zedel's in London, Indian Wells, California, Concord Massachusetts, to name a few. Complete details can be found on the Tour Schedule page. We may be very near you this year.
Latest Rave for "Ballads...mostly"
"That classy sentinel songstress, Marlene VerPlanck, is back with another album of perfectly chosen songs. As always, she has surrounded herself with top musicians and the results are definitive. With the likes of Tedd Firth and Mike Renzi alternating on piano, and revered musicians like Jay Leonhart and Boots Maleson on bass, Houston Person on tenor sax along with Ron Vincent on drums and Claudio Roditi on trumpet, this disc is a winner in VerPlanck's extensive catalog.
"Add to it all the late Billy VerPlanck’s refined arrangements on five beautiful Carolyn Leigh cuts, and it doesn’t get much better. Marlene deftly devoted herself to preserving the American songbook and still sounds as fresh as when she first sang backup for Frank Sinatra—and Kiss!" --John Hoglund Cabaret Scenes, November 1, 2013
Read entire review.
Latest Performance Raves
Marlene VerPlanck Meets Harry Allen and the Saxes
Sharp Theater, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ, October 5, 2013
Monmouth County Library, Manalapan, NJ, October 6, 2013
By Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz, December 2013
"In the space of less than 24 hours, Marlene VerPlanck gave two magnificent concerts in two distinctly different musical settings. On both occasions she demonstrated why she has earned a place in the upper echelon of interpreters of the Great American Songbook.
"At the Sharp Theater in the Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts at Ramapo College of New Jersey, VerPlanck had the backing of a four saxophone section, Harry Allen, Al Regni, David Demsey and Dan Willis, plus a rhythm section of Tomoko Ohno on piano, David Finck on bass and Ron Vincent on drums. The charts for this evening were those penned by her late husband Billy VerPlanck for two recordings that she made with the French jazz group Saxomania in1994 and 1999.
"The program included a variety of tunes that ranged from the familiar, 'You Turned the Tables on Me,' 'Beautiful Friendship' and 'Embraceable You' to some that are not often heard like Dave Frishberg’s 'El Cajon,' Stephen Sondheim’s 'Sooner or Later' from the 1990 film Dick Tracy, and the terrific Gerry Mulligan/Mel Tormé song '“The Real Thing.' As she usually does, she included some tunes by Billy VerPlanck including 'Sing Me to Sleep,' lyrics by Ray Hoffman, 'What Are We Going to Do with All that Moonlight,' words by Leon Nock, and 'Left Bank Blues,' a tune he wrote for the John LaSalle Quartet in the late 1950s when his wife was a member of that vocal group.
"These are not easy charts, and the musicians did a remarkable job of playing them with a minimal period of rehearsal time. Marlene VerPlanck has been doing many of the selections in versions scaled down to a trio setting, so it was also a challenge for her to sing them in the context of a larger group. The results were just what you would expect from any project the VerPlanck undertakes – refreshing and exciting.
"The following afternoon, VerPlanck was joined again by Allen, Finck and Vincent, along with pianist Mike Renzi, for a completely different, but equally satisfying program of great songs at the Monmouth County Library in Manalapan, a gig that she has been doing for many years at this ongoing series produced by former NJJS Board Member Jack Livingstone.
"Again the song selection was wide-ranging, encompassing standards like 'There Will Never Be Another You,' 'Dearly Beloved,' 'You Can Depend on Me' and 'I Only Have Eyes for You,' to some tunes by jazz musicians, like Bill Evans, who provided the tune to 'In April,' with a lovely lyric added by Roger Schore, and 'Here’s That Sunny Day,' words and music by guitarist Barney Kessel. There were also a couple of Billy VerPlanck songs, 'Speaking of Love,' with lyrics by Frank Grant, and a collaboration between VerPlanck and lyricist Leon Nock, “Why Was I Thinking of Springtime.”
"The standing ovations that greeted VerPlanck’s final selection, 'It Might As Well Be Spring,' encouraged her to provide an encore with 'The Song Is You.' On this afternoon the song was Marlene VerPlanck and her superb cast of musicians. The folks in Manalapan seemed like they are already anticipating her appearance in next year’s jazz series." -- Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz, December 2013
Marlene Ver Planck Quartet at Kitano
Thursday, July 25, 2013
by Alix Cohen on Playing Around
"From big bands to studio work, radio, television, clubs, and concerts Marlene Ver Planck has done it all, yet tonight it seems she must always have been a jazz baby. Ver Planck has the kind of skill with sliding octaves, hip takes, and scat that makes her voice a fourth instrument onstage. She often comes at phrases as if pulling notes from above and behind herself, creating musical arcs. While part of a word is bright, the rest may be in vocal shadow nuanced by vibrato.
"There’s zing in her “Sing” (Joe Raposo). It’s a confident interpretation, but not forced. Ver Planck clearly loves what she does. Opening, this veteran projects the young, unjaded quality of a performer who still wants to share. “In April” (Bill Evans/Roger Schore) follows, steeeeling away one’s heart like a cajoling breeze. In the audience, Shore looks wistful. Most of us must. “There Will Never Be Another You” is a smoky foxtrot. Ver Planck tends to close her eyes and pull her shoulders back a little before a higher note. Piano is lovely and melancholy". -- Alix Cohen, Woman Around Town, Playing Around, July 27, 2013
Read entire review.
Yet More Raves for "Ballads...mostly"
"Vocalist Marlene VerPlanck searches through the Songbooks of Cy Coleman and Harry Warren on this outing with impressive results. With her two trios of Tedd Firth-Mike Renzi/p, Jay Leonhart-Boots Maleson/b and Ron Vincent/dr, she delivers clever and updated versions of better known material like “I Only Have Eyes For You” and “Baby Dream Your Dream” while with the glowing tenor of Houston Person she caresses “Witchcraft” with a magic wand. Claudio Roditi contributes his warm trumpet to “I Wish I Knew” and the lovely “Love Dance” by Ivan Linz. A few obscurities pop in, and they are quite welcome, such as Coleman’s “It Amazes Me” and “I Walk A Little Faster,” but that’s the purpose of an outing like this. Ver Planck’s deliver is timed like a 9th inning closer, changing the speed and direction like a bullpen queen. Nice outing!" -- George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly, August 8, 2013
Marlene VerPlanck Sings - "Ballads…Mostly"
"From Marlene VerPlanck's very first musical phrase, I was reminded of two great artists; Lena Horne and our very own Los Angeles based pianist/singer/songwriter, Betty Bryant. The thing that brought those two artists to mind is both Betty Bryant and Lena Horne enthusiastically sell their song lyrics to any listening audience. Marlene VerPlanck is the same type of artist. She is a believable storyteller. You hear her and you buy it.
"The record production is simple but strong. VerPlanck presents a complete package of well chosen songs that become jazzy, easy listening at its best. This CD is rich with familiar standard songs, but I was impressed with song choices that included a number of unfamiliar compositions. Delightful songs like "My Dream is Yours" by Harry Warren and Ralph Blaine. You may remember Warren wrote "I Only Have Eyes For You" with co-writer Al Dubin."
"This is Marlene VerPlanck's twenty-second CD release. The New York Times said Marlene VerPlanck '…may be the most accomplished interpreter of popular material performing today.' I agree!" -- Dee Dee McNeil, LAJazz.com, July 27, 2013
Read entire review.
My latest CD, "Ballads...mostly" has made three top 2013 best ten lists: Nancy Barrel's Radio Show, from NYC, Don Albert, jazz journalist, from South Africa, and it ranked #1 on Joe Lang's "Jazz Journal Association Best of 2013 Vocal CD" Top Ten.You can order the "Ballads...mostly" here.
It's been a very busy 2013, and 2014 shows no sign of slowing down. The US and UK schedules include many different venues: Zedel's in London, Indian Wells, California, Concord Massachusetts, to name a few. Complete details can be found on the Tour Schedule page. We may be very near you this year.
Billy's Scholarship Fund Update
J. Billy VerPlanck Trombone Scholarship Award
Caleb Rumley, student at William Paterson University is the 2013 recipient of The J. Billy VerPlanck, trombone scholarship award.
For more on the scholarship fund, visit Billy's Page.
See Marlene on YouTube!
Check out several videos of her performances here.
This site last updated February 27, 2014