My early influences were Harold Arlen’s music and Judy Garland’s voice. Arlen’s music resonates profoundly with my musical sensibilities. The common denominator of both artists was the utter joy each brought to their music despite the innate character of the song and their impeccable musicianship.
Other musical influences: Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Irene Kral, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington, Barbara Cook, early Barbra Streisand, Cleo Laine, Carole Sloane, Fred Astaire, Cy Coleman, Jacqueline Francois, Johnny Hartman, June Christy, K.D. Lang, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Manhattan Transfer, Lena Horne, Nancy Lamott, Mark Murphy, Nat King Cole, Shirley Horn, Rosemary Clooney, Mabel Mercer, Noel Coward, Johnny Hodges, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Bill Charlap, Richard Rodney Bennett.
Before I discovered jazz, I was drawn to the classical art songs of Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy, and German lieder and French chanson. It really was the perfect introduction to jazz with their rich harmonies.
I did my first solo performance in April 2000 @ Don’t Tell Mama in “Who the Hell is Harold Arlen?!” In April 2006 I performed my 2nd Arlen show “Aspects of Arlen” at Danny’s Skylight Room. My demo was recorded in 2003 in NYC, with the Tedd Firth on piano and Saadi Zain on bass.
In 2010, I released my first CD, “The Face of My Love”, which explored the arc of a modern relationship using standards.
“It is very possible that no one in recent memory has gotten into character to perform the role of a lover with such majesty and fire as Greves plays out the myriad shades of sadness and joy associated with the eternal passion that exists where heart and mind meet…” – Raul da Gama CD Editor All About Jazz review of “The Face of My Love”
In 2012 the Harold Arlen Project released Volume 1, entitled “Vintage & Rare: The Songs of Harold Arlen”. The Arlen Project is a comprehensive recording of most of Arlen’s oeuvre. I have hunted down some obscure and unpublished pieces. These will be recorded in a modern jazz trio setting. The trio being Wells Hanley on piano, Peter Donovan on bass, and Jacob Melchior on drums.
“Although Greves has come to be a troubadour, courtesy of his first album, he appears to have broadened the scope of his vocal emotions, expressing joy and comedy just as brilliantly as he does songs of love and hurt. His greatest strength, however, is one that would have pleased Arlen immensely and that is his ability to tell a story.”-Raul da Gama liner notes “Vintage & Rare-The Songs of Harold Arlen Volume 1
The year 2015 saw the release of my third CD, “Night People”, and it was very well received. That CD featured Frank Ponzio on piano, Pete Donovan on Bass, and Vito Lesczak on drums.
Night People is an homage to my early youthful days when I haunted and habituated the night scenes and nightscapes searching for the unnamable thing or experience. This divine restlessness was always seeking newness, satisfaction, release, and ultimately peace.
"Ken Greves is a vocalist who combines cabaret and jazz in a most engaging manner… To my ears there is a touch of Andy Bey in the drama he brings to a composition… the attention to lyrics is clear—in fact all the strengths exhibited on Night People are present here along with the believability he brings to the lyrics. Robert D. "Bob" Rusch review of “Night People’"-Cadence Jazz Magazine
“Vintage & Rare: The Songs of Harold Arlen-Hit the Road to Dreamland Volume 2” was released and well-received last year in 2019.
"Greves vocals are beautifully poised as he molds his ruminations to the melodic knolls, and strokes the lyrics like they were made of fine porcelain." By Susan Frances – JazzTimes
With this new release - “Vintage & Rare: The Songs of Harold Arlen-Ridin’ on the Moon Volume 3” - the project is now almost a third of the way to completion. This volume has the jazz trio as its essential core but includes the additional contributions of Sean Harkness on guitar for three of the tracks and the Gabrielle Fink String Quartet for four of the tracks.
"On the money throughout, Greves goes way beyond being a jive-ass crooner and wears the mantle of vocalist quite well. Midwest Record" ~ Chris Spector, Editor, and Publisher
Volume 4 has already been recorded but needs additional post-production work. Volume 4 is an audacious move wherein the only features are voice and piano, and mostly ballads. The opener will be an a cappella version of “Over the Rainbow”.
The balance of the project is mapped out and budgeted. Next, come the fundraising and crowdfunding campaigns.