The Four Freshmen made their timeless mark with jazz and pop harmonies that spread through a complex range of five chords among four voices. And unlike most vocal groups, each of its four members played more than one instrument, which allowed the others to switch off to different roles and improvise – jazz style.
The Four Freshmen's tightly synchronized trademark sound came on the heels of the big bands and swing era, capturing the ear of many students and service personnel, and most definitely jazz figures of the era like Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman and Stan Kenton. Their work formed the bridge between 40s ensembles like Mel Tormé's Mel-tones and harmony-based rock & roll bands such as The Beach Boys and Manhattan Transfer. Actually, their work not only built the bridge it paved it by way of eloquence and sophisticated ease!
With captivating tunes like It's A Blue World, Mood Indigo, Graduation Day, Angel Eyes, How Can I Tell Her, Whistle Me Some Blues, In This Whole Wide World, Candy, Day By Day, And So It's Over and (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66, the group accomplished an astounding number of "firsts" in their career. They were the first to be self-contained by each playing instrumental jazz while simultaneously singing harmonies a half-step apart, with all four voices smartly aligned at lush falsettos and swelling tempos. Another first was lengthy albums that would allow their sound to flow into conceptual works or as thematic arrays.
First joining forces in 1948, the Four Freshmen were discovered by the great progressive jazz bandleader-pianist-composer Stan Kenton during a performance in Dayton, Ohio in 1950. Kenton was so impressed with what he heard that he quickly arranged for an audition with Capitol Records with which, over the next 16 years, the Freshmen released more than two dozen hit albums. Their work created many a Freshmen fanatic, scores of which belong to the "Four Freshmen Society" and gather at annual reunions to this day.
In 2000 the Four Freshmen were voted Vocal Group of the Year by Down Beat magazine readers, so let it be know that The Four Freshmen are not a period piece. They stay forever fresh with continuous creativity due, in part, to the changing talents that have composed the over the past 60 years. But, because The Four Freshmen is a trademark sound, fans can trust that the current line-up comes as close as any edition in its history, and many a critic have raved that today's Freshmen, which have performed together for 12 years, are more precise in their vocal unity and instrumental flare than ever.
Today's Four Freshmen feature Brian Elchenberger –on lead vocals and guitar, Curtis Calderon, 2nd vocal, trumpet ad flugelhorn, Vince Johnson, 3rd vocal and upright bass and Bob Ferreira, 4th vocal and drums. They'll be appearing center stage at the Spencer Theater, courtesy of show sponsor Walton Stations of New Mexico, on Saturday, July 28 at 8 p.m. Excellent seats are available for $69 & $66. Call the Spencer Box Office at 575.336.4800 for tickets or go online towww.spencertheater.com. A pre-show pork tenderloin buffet ($20) will also be available at 6 p.m.