by: Barb KrolakMonroe, Michigan News Jim Paravantes thinks big-band music is "the best music that's out there."That's why he's happy to be the featured vocalist for Sunday's show by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra at the River Raisin Centre for the Arts. "The standards they created back in the '30s and '40s keep getting better. I'm a believer that that type of music has to remain," he told The Evening News in a recent telephone interview from his home in Canton, Michigan.It's the seventh time Mr. Paravantes has performed with the legendary big band, owner of such hits as "Marie," "I'll Never Smile Again" and "Stardust." He sings regularly in southeastern Michigan - mostly jazz.- "It's a passion for me," he said. The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra has been called one of the best all-around dance bands in big-band history. Called the Sentimental Gentleman of Swing, Mr. Dorsey was "a master at creating warm, sentimental, and always musical moods - at superb dancing and listening tempos," according to press information. Among the band's vocalists were Frank Sinatra and Jo Stafford. The end of World War II, big-band music was on the wane and many bandleaders put down their batons, Mr. Dorsey included.Two Years LaterHowever, just two years later, he started a new group. The band now is led by Buddy Morrow, a trombone player and original member of the Tommy Dorsey Band. He also played with Paul Whiteman, Artie Shaw and Jimmy Dorsey. The band's repertoire includes original Dorsey classics along with a range of popular music.
Jim possesses a smooth singing style that is perfect for swing and ballads.....and when it's time to accelerate the tempo, he's totally able and adept - an excellent improviser performing a repertoire of the Great American Songbook. His style combines influences from his four favorite mentors, Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé and Tony Bennett and David Street.Jim was the featured vocalist for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on several occasions. Jim had the opportunity to perform with comedian and Master of Ceremonies: Tom Dreesen. Tom Dreesen opened for Frank Sinatra and traveled with him for over 14 years. Tom’s comment about Jim was: "There are just a few vocalists today that can present this music as it was intended, and Jim Paravantes is one of them".
Performances:Las Vegas: BellagioCincinatti Music HallWeber's Habitat Lounge (Ann Arbor, Michigan)David Swain II-V-I Orchestra (Ann Arbor, Michigan)Tommy Dorsey OrchestraRhythm Society OrchestraGary Greenfelder OrchestraRiver Raisin Centre for the Arts (Monroe, Michigan)PI of SouthfieldDetroit Yacht ClubBay City Michigan, Wenonah ParkLexington, Michigan Music Theater (Lexington, Michigan)Detroit Music Hall - Jazz CafeCarnival Cruise LineCreekside - Ann Arbor, MichiganExcalibur Andiamo Italia West - Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 12 month run.Andiamo Lake Front Bistro - St. Clair Shores, MichiganSheraton Universal Hotel - Burbank, CaliforniaCanton, Michigan Concert SeriesVillage Theater - Canton, MichiganDunleavy's River Place (Detroit, Michigan)Club 54
We've been saluting some of the past singers of the Great American Songbook, such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Billie Holiday, etc. Now it is time to recognize some of the singers of today who are "keeping the flame alive."It is far from easy to maintain a "singer of standards' career today. The television variety and talk shows that featured vocalists have just about disappeared. The late night "nasties," Leno and Letterman, provide a few minutes at the end of their hour programs to music acts....99 percent are rock groups.Tony Bennett is about the only "smooth singer of standards" who receives any exposure. The radio stations that featured the "oldies" music of the 30's and 40's are mostly gone. Oh, Martin Block where are you? Plus, and well documented, the recording business is in trouble. Try to find a record store in your town. Tower Records is gone with the wind..But, let's meet a Sinatra style singer, Jim Paravantes. Jim has performed with one of the most popular big bands of all time - The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, under the direction of Buddy Morrow. Buddy is recognized as one of the all–time great trombone players. Jim possesses a smooth singing style that is perfect for swing and ballads.....and when it's time to accelerate the tempo, he's totally able and adept - an excellent improviser performing a repertoire of the Great American Songbook. His style combines influences from his four favorite mentors, Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé and Tony Bennett and David Street. Jim commented “I lifted something from each one of them”. Jim comes from a musical family. Jim’s uncle, David Street was a big band vocalist and performed with Buddy Morrow and the Bob Crosby Orchestra.
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“Watch out... His performances have been known to inspire people to dance with abandon”.Detroit Free Press