GIỌNG CA JOHNNY MATHIS
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One of the last and most popular in a long line of traditional male vocalists who emerged before the rock-dominated 1960s, Johnny Mathis concentrated on romantic readings of jazz and pop standards for the ever-shrinking adult contemporary audience of the ’60s and ’70s. Though he debuted with a flurry of singles chart activity, Mathis later made it big in the album market, where a dozen of his LPs hit gold or platinum and over 60 made the charts. While he originally concentrated on theme-oriented albums of show tunes and traditional favorites, from the ’70s onward Mathis began incorporating more varied styles of music into his recordings, including soft rock, R&B, and country. This stylistic eclecticism, combined with ubiquitous vocal chops, helped Mathis remain a popular concert attraction well into the 21st century.
Unsurprisingly, given his emphasis on long sustained notes and heavy vibrato, Mathis studied with an opera coach prior to his teenage years, and was almost lured into the profession; his other inspirations were the smoother crossover jazz vocalists of the 1940s — Nat “King” Cole, Billy Eckstine, and Lena Horne. Mathis was an exceptional high-school athlete in San Francisco, but was wooed away from a college track scholarship and a potential spot on the Olympic squad by the chance to sing. He was signed to a management contract by club owner Helen Noga, who introduced the singer to George Avakian, jazz producer for Columbia Records. Avakian signed him and used orchestras conducted byTeo Macero, Gil Evans, and John Lewis to record Mathis‘ self-titled debut album in 1957. Despite the name talent and choice of standards, it was mostly ignored upon release.