Jack Jones believes that a good song never goes out of style, so he isn’t that surprised by the strong response to his rendition of the old Cy Coleman tune "I’ve Got Your Number" on the soundtrack of "American Hustle."
"That has done me a lot of good. It has really been nice," Jones said of the attention he has received lately for the song and his cameo appearance in the hit David O. Russell caper comedy with Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence.
"First of all, it’s nice when just about everyone has seen you lately and they like the movie," the singer said, laughing, in a phone interview last week from his home in Palm Springs, Calif.
The singer became a star in the 1960s, just before that period when rock music began to nudge such pop singers as Jones, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra off the charts. The classic American Songbook style of singing has come back in recent years with the rise of performers like Michael Buble, but Jones has managed to find receptive audiences throughout his career.
When we talked, the singer was dealing with a slight cold in the wake of a tour of the Philipines where, he said, his type of music "never went away … they are especially into ballads.
"I just sing and hope somebody comes. I have always been blessed with the ability to open my mouth and sing and you’re not supposed to be singing at this age," he said.
"If you take care of it, it can last," he added of not indulging in the smoking and drinking that can wreck a voice.
Jones has always been grateful for the early acting training that bolsters his ability to put across the words in a great song.
"I remember when my teacher, Frank Silvera, would do exercises like taking a normally happy song and making it into a sad experience — a method acting thing but a good exercise. And of course that’s what Barbra Streisand did with `Happy Days are Here Again,’ " he said of one of the singer-actress’ first big hits.
The great lyricists of earlier eras left room for interpretation and reinvention as their classic songs traveled through time. The ability of a song to hit us emotionally in a way that no other form of art can has fascinated Jones most of his life.
"I remember listening to that all-time greatest moping song, `Only the Lonely,’ when I was in high school," Jones said of the ultra-melancholy title track from one of Sinatra’s greatest albums.
"I would shut the door and play it over and over … who knows what my parents thought I was planning to do," he said, laughing.
Although Jones misses the era of "The Ed Sullivan Show," when viewers were exposed to a much wider variety of performers than you would see on any TV show today, he loves the freedom and control that has come with the new era of Internet search engines and the downloading of music. The performer has the rights to all of his classic 1960s albums, as well as the new ones like "Jack Jones Live in Liverpool 2013," and he markets them on his own website (www.jackjones.org).
"It’s fantastic because everything is so much easier to find now and I like the (direct) relationship I have with customers. It’s nice to be able to thank a fan who buys your music in a note," he said.
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Sacred Heart University’s Edgerton Center, 5151 Park Ave., Fairfield. Sunday, March 16, 3 p.m. $25-$10. 203-371-7908, www.EdgertonCenter.org.
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