Music » Livewire

Buddy Greco

Saturday, August 26, and Sunday, August 27, at Nighttown


Buddy Greco's fanbase is similar to that of Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett, but he has a stronger jazz background than either of the singers. Born in Philadelphia in 1926, Greco played piano and led a trio there during the late '40s. By the end of the '40s, he joined Benny Goodman as a pianist and vocalist, at a time when Goodman was experimenting with be-bop. He performed on some memorable tracks, notably "Bedlam," "Undercurrent Blues," "Shishkabop," and "Egg Head," on which the great bop tenor saxophonist Wardell Gray also played. Greco did some scat singing on Goodman's "Oo-Bla-Dee"; he also cut ballad vocals with the band and did some arranging for Goodman. He's continued to write charts since then. In 1952 Greco left Goodman to go out on his own with a trio, playing and singing. He opted for a pop-oriented style, doing mostly standards, and appearing at night clubs and casinos across the nation and overseas. Occasionally, he's gone back to his old jazz roots. In 1967 he co-hosted a TV show with drummer Buddy Rich, and he appeared in 1991 on a recording with reedmen Buddy DeFranco, Grover Washington, and Ernie Watts. The next year, he toured with a tribute to the Benny Goodman band led by clarinetist Peanuts Hucko. Over the years, Greco's appeared on a number of albums, some pretty commercial. But he's retained the ability to swing and to interpret ballads with warmth and sensitivity. In an informal nightclub setting like Nighttown's, he should be at his best.

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