Author Archives: Ron Kaplan

2008 Holiday Greetings

For Immediate Release

Greetings one and all from Ronald Kaplan, executive director of American Songbook Preservation Society!

Our Mission: To preserve our cultural treasure known as the Great American Songbook by presenting this music to the public at home and abroad as Ambassadors of Song.

Please join us in our fundraising efforts to achieve our goal of $10,000 by year end. We have some very special opportunities for you to do so.

We are a 501 (C) (3) not-for-profit charitable organization, and so your donations are tax-deductible. You may donate online by check or credit card @

You can also send us a check directly to American Songbook Preservation Society, 9051-A Soquel Drive Aptos, California 95003. You will receive an acknowledgement receipt promptly.
Our Federal Tax ID #56-2410339. You may also reach us by phone, (831) 687-0278 or by email,

Our year end goal will enable us to complete and disseminate our 2 film projects that include our Mother’s Day concert featuring 15 of L.A’s finest Singers and a documentary film about our mission and purpose to keep this music out in front of the public for the next 100 years and beyond.

For those of you in the San Francisco bay area, we have a wonderful opportunity to see a zany and delightful one man show by the extremely talented Mark Nadler, entitled Russian on the Side. This 90 minute show is an amusing, educational, fast paced romp through the 1941 song, Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians) written by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Ira Gershwin from the 1941 classic Broadway musical Lady in the Dark, which also became a Hollywood music film featuring Danny Kaye in both productions.

We have 10 tickets for this show to offer in appreciation for your donation on any Tuesday through Thursday November 4-6th & 11-13th, so please act fast! You don’t want to miss this.

We are also offering an amazing opportunity to participate in a worldwide, live, online auction on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, November 7, 8 & 9 in support of presented by We receive 20% of your accepted bid items in support of our mission.

The items include many works of Art, including Marc Chagall, Picasso and many more. There is a large selection of “certified” fine jewelry including diamonds, rubies, emeralds, Rolex watches, and so much more.You will find our charity auction on behalf of American Songbook Preservation Society @

Finally, all profits from the sale of the newly released CD, American Songbook Preservation Society…Singing the Great American Songbook,will go to our organization.
This live benefit concert recorded at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz by singer Ron Kaplan, pianist Marshall Otwell and basist Stan Poplin is available now @

We will send a reminder email as we get closer to the auction. In the meantime…thank you for your support!

ASPS Los Angeles Benefit Concert Review

ASPS LA benefit concert review
What a treat I got on Mother’s Day! Cathy Segal-Garcia, known not only for her great
jazz singing, but also for her active dedication and involvement in stimulating our
musical community, put together a fabulous concert of about 15 of the L.A. area’s most
prominent jazz singers to benefit the American Songbook Preservation Society, under the
direction of Ron Kaplan.

With superb, tasty and swinging trio backup of Karen Hammack on piano, John Hatton
on bass and Kurt Walther on drums, the singers each offered two gems from the Great
American Songbook, complete with sensitive introductions about the songwriter(s) and
the history of their chosen songs. Well, one can say that darn, we only got to hear two
songs each, but then again, we all want to leave our audiences “wanting more” and we
definitely wanted to “hear more” from each and every one of these wonderfully talented
singers! So, as people have asked me. who was my favorite? Very difficult to say, every
singer put their heart and soul into each song, and brought their personality and
distinctive style, so each song provided a new interpretation and thoughtful
improvisations, true to this art form – jazz! And I truly enjoyed each and every minute!

The concert was held at Alan Goldman’s stunning home theater in the hills of Mt.
Washington…(we were all sitting there thinking “In my dreams, I’d have a space like
this!!”) Thank you Alan, for providing this wonderful place to be! The concert was
videotaped by noted documentary filmmaker, Ken Koenig, and his son Eric. It was
recorded for CD as well, so we can look forward to these releases hopefully in the near

Cathy Segal-Garcia introduced each singer, and opened this concert on a gorgeous note
with her beautiful interpretation of “Some Other Time” written by Leonard Bernstein
with Betty Comden & Adolph Green. Cathy’s thoughtful introduction gave us a little insight into the lives of these wonderful musical talents. Cathy then brought up Ron
Kaplan, the Executive Director of the American Songbook Preservation Society. Ron is
the embodiment of the Great American Songbook, living it and heartfelt. he brought the
smooth and elegant aire of Gershwin’s inspiration among us. Ron sang “I Got Rhythm”
and he definitely did!

And so we started swinging, on to Gina Eckstine, who sang “I Could Write A Book” by
Rodgers & Hart…. and indeed she could! As the youngest daughter of the great Billy
Eckstine, what a story she can tell! Gina followed with “My Foolish Heart”, a song by
Victor Young and Ned Washington which was originally introduced in the 1949 movie of
the same title. The power and emotion in her voice was awesome, and she wowed us with
a double ending doing it her way and then Mr.B’s! What a treat, thank you, Gina!!

Dini Clarke took over the mic next and kept on swingin’ with “Just In Time” by Jule
Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Dini followed with “Moment To Moment” by
Henry Mancini from the 1965 movie of the same title, and showed his full range of
talented interpretation and feeling for the music.

Kevyn Lettau was next and brought us an energetic and swinging version of “Almost
Like Being In Love (Lerner & Lowe) with a great scat… followed by an interesting bossa
interpretation of just about every jazz-lovin’ couple’s favorite song, “My One and Only
Love”, written by Guy Wood & Robert Mellin. Kevyn set up the song with a percussive
scat-influenced introduction which was a real departure from most interpretations of this

After a brief break, Jack Wood opened the second set, and we heard a v-e-r-y smooth
“Time After Time” by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. Jack has great phrasing, and he’s
swinging, warm and velvety smooth (was Frank in the room smiling?) Jack followed with
Jobim’s “Girl From Ipanema”, and again, very tasty!

Talk about being surprised at every turn! Cheryl Barnes got up next and gave us “That
Old Black Magic” (by Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer) and at every turn we heard a new
invention as Cheryl found another place to take this classic song, and we all grooved right
along! Great scatting by Cheryl with her incredible range! Followed by a tasty bossa
version of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” by Rodgers and Hart. What command,
Cheryl! Bravo!

Charming and cool Mark Winkler got up and brought us some swingin’ and hip Bobby
Troup songs – the first was Bobby’s best known hit for Nat King Cole, “Route 66”. Mark
gave us a great introduction on Bobby’s first meeting with Nat and how “Route 66” came
to be inspired and written. Mark followed with one of Bobby more obscure tunes, “I’m
Such A Hungry Man”, (a song I’d certainly never heard). Mark delivered this clever song
well with it’s amusing lyrics, and made us all laugh! Yeah, Mark – Bobby was proud, and
Julie was smiling!

Next, another rare treat – Pinky Winters! Pinky knows so many tunes from the Great
American Songbook, and always brings us some of the lesser heard gems. She sang
“Nice ‘n’ Easy” by Marilyn & Alan Bergman and Lou Spence (who just passed)… and
with her subtle swing and great artistry made it all sound just so – nice and easy! And
Pinky followed this wonderful song with “A Beautiful Friendship” by Donald Kahn and Stanley Styne, and just about took everyone’s breath away. So sensitive, Pinky, incredibly
touching, & simply, Wow!

Dewey Erney followed Pinky – so perfectly, with “All Or Nothing At All”, composed by
Arthur Altman, with lyrics by Jack Lawrence. Dewey’s smooth voice caresses the lyrics
and the melodies he so obviously loves. Then Dewey sang one of my favorite songs “I
Thought About You” by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, complete
with the beautiful verse, thank you! I learned from Dewey’s introduction that Johnny
Mercer did not fly until late in life, so all his travel was done by trains and therefore, the
imagery of those trips is apparent in this song and a few others! I love to hear the stories
behind the songs!

We took one last brief break, then Cathy introduced another wonderful vocalist, Ann
Mack. When Ann hits those deep and sultry contralto tones, my heart is hers! I was truly
blown away the first time I heard her, in a workshop at Cathy’s – and later Ann leaned
down and sang the opening line to “There’s No You” in my ear! “Unforgettable – in every
way!” and I became her undying fan! Ann started her set with a swingin’ version of “Star
Eyes” by Gene de Paul, and followed with a warm introduction of the great “William
Thomas” Strayhorn’s tender ballad “Daydream” and what a Tour de Force it was for Ann
with her sensitivity and gorgeous voice!

Next came Bili Redd, who sang a swingin’ bossa version of “Willow Weep For Me”,
which finally gave the bass player, John Hatton, a chance to stretch with a groooovin
chorus…. and Bili continued the groove with some wonderful improvisations on this tune
which he clearly loves, as well as the following “For All We Know”…. (which I dearly
love as well!) Bili’s version was one of the nicest I’ve heard of this touching song, which
was written in 1934 by Sam M. Lewis and J. Fred Coots.

Let me not go a word further without commenting on the superb playing of Karen
Hammack on piano. Not only a fine and sensitive player, Karen is a wonderful
accompanist and has the ability to bring out the best in each song and vocalist. I know
there was no rehearsal and yet Karen played everyone’s charts beautifully and provided a
warm and swinging musical canvas for these great singers to paint the lyrics on. Karen
shines on bossas, swings with the best, and is sterling on slow ballads as well.

Cat Conner came up next, beaming and bouncing and bringing in the great cosmic spirit
of Edward Kennedy Ellington with a swingin’ “In A Mellow Tone”. Cat related some
personal experiences digging Duke’s band live, and then sang a unique medley of “I Got
It Bad And That Ain’t Good” interwoven with “Solitude”. The moods of the songs fit
beautifully. Great arrangement, Cat!

I’d been eager to hear Denise Donatelli live, and I wasn’t disappointed!… She began with
a song by one of her, and my, favorite composers – Cole Porter, in a bossa interpretation
that I think suits it beautifully – “I Concentrate On You”. Karen Hammack, again, really
set up a beautiful bossa mood and played a gorgeous solo. Denise then took Matt Dennis’
“Angel Eyes” with a slightly funky groove that also worked beautifully and gave the song
a nice lift and set up another opportunity for John Hatton to get down with a bass solo.

Last but not least, Jimmer Bolden got up and in his charming and gracious manner
thanked us all for being there to support this music and all the singers… then Jimmer gave us a swingin’ rendition of a gem by Fats Waller and Andy Razaf, “Honeysuckle Rose”.
Jimmer took several choruses, each more swingin’ and inventive. He closed his set with
one of his favorite songs written by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes -“That’s All” – that
started as a beautiful ballad, and ended up swinging; a nice and unexpected tempo change
that worked great with Jimmer’s voice.

Cathy Segal-Garcia and Ron Kaplan closed the show, Cathy with a lovely rendering of
Rodgers & Hart’s “There’s A Small Hotel”. Cathy related that the song was probably
written about the Montecito Inn, in Santa Barbara. Renovations to the hotel in the 50’s
replaced the wishing well, mentioned in the song, by a floral fountain. So much for
historic preservation, but the beautiful song remains, and Cathy caressed it with her
velvety voice in a swingin’ bossa mood. Ron Kaplan then set us up for a contemplative
ride home with “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)” by Harold Arlen and
Johnny Mercer. Warm and beautiful, Ron!

Someone had a fun idea to close this wonderful concert with 15 singers getting up to sing
“Our Love Is Here To Stay”, which, coincidentally, was also an ending for the great
George Gershwin, being the last composition he wrote. Dewey Erney provided the verse
and things took off from there, a swinging first chorus with everyone trading twos,
followed by everyone scattin’ the next one, and a unison third! You should’ve heard the
last note!!! The universe did!

So thanks to all who created this wonderful concert, Cathy Segal-Garcia, Ron Kaplan,
Alan Goldman, all the singers who brought their heart and soul to the music, and Karen
Hammack, Ron Hatton and Kurt Walther, for their solid musical underpinnings, and to
Ken Koenig and crew for documenting a great day!

Did I say swingin’ too many times? I’m sorry, but it WAS Swingin! For anyone who had
to miss it, hope my notes and pics help bring forth the spirit of the day! It was a great
confirmation that the legacy of Jazz and the Great American Songbook is alive and well!
I know I was so inspired I could hardly wait to get home and start diggin out all these
wonderful songs to learn them myself!

Please, everyone – get out and support all these talented musicians and singers, and hear
live music!

by Julie Cresswell

Jazz Improv Magazine article

jazzImprovMag Interview

JI: Can you talk about the evolution of the American Songbook Preservation Society. What is your vision for its future and how do you aim to achieve your very lofty goals?

RK: The American Songbook Preservation Society started as a result of my taking seminar courses from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County, where I live, in explorations of how I could help Ron Kaplan get ahead in the business of music. My initial thinking was a result of an IAJE workshop by Bret Primack on how becoming a non-profit can help a musician receive funding to underwrite performances. Well, the deeper I got into the study of it with courses about the not-for-profit sector and the power potential of the favorable tax treatment for both the organization and the donor, (along with the limitless applications of this principal), I had an epiphany! I realized that it wasn’t about Ron Kaplan anymore. It was about the music! It is one thing to leave a body of work, but it’s another to leave a genuine legacy. Just think about the number of organizations and foundations that underwrite and support the arts in our country? Without them, much high culture and high art in our country would wither on the vine and fade away. I realized that all of our art is supported by patrons, philanthropists, foundations and individual donors for the most part. I also discovered that well over 80% of the funding for non-profits comes from individual donors. I completed the program of nearly 100 hours in various aspects NP management. I applied to the State to become a California Corporation and filed with the IRS for the 501 (c) (3) status and received approval just before completing the program. Since then, it’s essentially been a labor of love and personal investment of time and monies to build an organization from scratch. The mission is to preserve our cultural treasure known as the Great American Songbook. This can be done by presenting this music to the public at home and abroad as Ambassadors of Song. Our purpose is to build an Organization to stand the test of time and continue this body of work for the next 100 years and beyond for public benefit. Future Projects will include archiving and organizing historical documentation about the composers and lyricists, the personalities, and their works, as an educational resource for future generations for use in the classroom and the university. In addition, we will record and develop new material for presentation to the public as representative of this body of work. Finally, we will work on a permanent display using modern technology to bring the Great American Songbook and its inhabitants to life. I have received some relatively small grants to produce two concerts and the website and branding, and chased the money from individuals and corporations. I received a pledge of support early on from Wynton Marsalis, who stated that we were working toward the same end. Nat Hentoff, Phoebe Jacobs and Kurt Elling were also behind my mission. And so, as time has gone on, I have had to expand my thinking on funding. I recently sold my business and retired from my day job, so I can now focus the majority of my time and energy on this ambitious undertaking to build a National organization to stand the test of time. I am anxious to get the money thing out of the way so we can strictly focus on our mission. I am in a race against the clock by year-end 2007 to meet the IRS definition of a foundation, which gives money away, as opposed to a charitable organization which asks for money to support its mission. Both are treated favorably regarding tax deductibility, but a foundation is self-sustainable which my objective is. Meeting my goal of $1 million by year-end will meet this distinction. That is why it is so important to keep communicating to find those individuals who want to support this cause. It will also allow us to focus on building the educational resource component by development of an expanded website with downloadable materials for grade school through university education. My latest effort toward fund raising includes a recording made at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in January of a concert on behalf of American Songbook Preservation Society with a pitch for funding included in text about our mission and goals.

JI: How did you choose the songs for your new CD New York?
RK: Once I decided on a theme for the recording, I started to think of all the songs about New York that I knew. I looked through all of my songbooks and did extensive research at the public library. Some of the songs I wanted to record did not have sheet music I could find. I asked many of my friends if they had any of these charts in search of the missing scores, whom all came up empty. It was due to a search of the entire state of California library systems that the Los Angeles public library found some of the sheet music for me. New York is one of the few cities or places that had abundant titles written about it to make an entire recording. There were a number of songs I ferreted through to come up with the 12 I chose. This is really a quintessential New York recording. The only major song I felt I had to choose to leave out is one I previously recorded on my album entitled Dedicated which is perhaps the penultimate New York composition entitled Autumn In New York by Vladimir Dukelsky (Vernon Duke). Unlike Sinatra, I am opposed to the idea of re-recording material unless it is in a live performance. Walking the streets of New York inspired me to make this recording and in particular, to quote a Harry Warren and Al Dubin lyric from 42nd Street, “In the heart of little old New York there is a thoroughfare. It’s the part of little old New York that turns into Time Square. That crazy quilt that Wall Street Jack built. If you have a little time to spare, I’d like to take you there.” I believe we were able to accomplish with this recording.

JI: If you could magically get your wish in the next three years, what goal—action or event—would you both hope to accomplish, and what is the emotional core of that goal?

RK: That’s an easy one. It would be fully endowing the not-for-profit foundation,, to the tune of $25 million dollars. This would allow me to fully flush out the organization and accomplish all of its goals, and allow me to spend the balance of my lifetime fulfilling it’s mission, ensuring it’s success, expanding its purpose as times and technology change. This would allow me to build a foundation to stand the test of time and exist for 100 years or more beyond my time, while building in the capacity to pass it along to other capable hands. This would be my greatest individual accomplishment as a steward of the music, and perhaps my true legacy. It would certainly be the most emotionally fulfilling artistic and altruistic endeavor I could undertake. And may I add here that all it takes is for one individual to dedicate themselves to making a difference. It can and will change the world for better or worse. I believe this is my highest calling against all odds. It’s the one reason I was put on this earth.

Oracle Fly By Reply…Nice Try, No Dice

Dateline: November 27,2006 … Aptos, CA
Contact: Ronald Kaplan, American Songbook Preservation Society
Contact Phone: (831) 687-0278 or (831)295-3672 cell
Contact Fax: (831) 685-2609
Web Address:

APTOS, CA ­ November 27,2006 ­ The American Songbook Preservation Society, a not-for-profit Foundation, flew a plane with banner in tow around the corporate headquarters of Oracle in a plea for a charitable donation from CEO Larry Ellison on November 2, 2006, in Redwood Shores, CA. The monies would endow the Foundation, in perpetuity, to fulfill it’s mission: to preserve our cultural treasure known as the Great American Songbook, by presenting this music to the public at home and abroad as Ambassadors of Song. The request comes as a result of a 2005 settlement requiring Ellison to dispense $100 million within 5 years to the charities of his choice.

According to Ronald Kaplan, founder and Executive Director, $25 Million Dollars will endow the Foundation in perpetuity and keep
this music in front of the American Public and the world for the next 100 years and beyond. But on November 17, 2006, the Foundation had received their reply from Oracle Corporation that there would be no funds available as the $100 million has already been designated.

“Had our ‘out of the box’ guerilla marketing attempt succeeded, it would have endowed our non-profit foundation in perpetuity. My intention is to find a suitor to underwrite our Foundation and allow me to build an organization to keep this music in front of the public for the next 100 years and beyond. I had received a pledge of support from Wynton Marsalis early on and at the advice of Nat Hentoff, who thought the organization was a wonderful idea,” said Kaplan.

Hentoff referred Kaplan to the Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts where, he discovered that the NEA no longer gives
endowments. Phoebe Jacobs of the Louis Armstrong Foundation, a protégé and confidant of Duke Ellington and his family said the
concept of the is very patriotic.

“We are looking for donors who believe in the American Cultural Legacy and want their name or business associated with the Foundation in perpetuity as we fulfill our mission. The end of the 2006 tax year is rapidly coming to a close. We are asking that concerned individuals help us make this happen with their support, and as the Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby and Oscar Hammerstein II song goes, ‘Give Me A Kiss To Build A Dream On'”.

For more information, contact:
American Songbook Preservation Society
Ronald Kaplan, Executive Director
9051-A Soquel Drive
Aptos, CA 95001
Phone: (831) 687-0278

Benefit Concert at Kuumbwa Jazz Center

For Immediate Release

Singer Ron Kaplan will be performing a benefit concert on behalf of American Songbook Preservation Society…Singing the Great American Songbook at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar Street in Santa Cruz on Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 7 PM. Doors open at 6pm, with dinner served as part of the Cookin’ @ The Kuumbwa series. For details, visit or call (831) 427-2227. Tickets cost $10 in advance or $13 at the door and are available at Logos Books & Records.

The show begins at 7pm and will feature Ron with Master Musicians, Pianist Marshall Otwell and Bassist Stan Poplin, performing songs from such legendary composers as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George & Ira Gershwin, Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn, Harold Arlen, Hoggy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer, Harry Warren and others.

This concert is in support of , a 501(C)(3) non-profit, of which Ronald Kaplan serves as Executive Director. His charge is to build a national organization to keep this music in front of the public for the next 100 years and beyond.

The mission of the Foundation is: To preserve our cultural treasure known as the Great American Songbook by presenting this music to the Public at home and abroad as Ambassadors of Song.

Ron Kaplan’s style is reminiscent of the great singers of the 1950’s. Critics note his sophisticated phrasing, tone, diction and ability to get to the heart of a song with his own mark of musicianship.

“Easygoing swing and a sensibility without artifice are the hallmarks of what Kaplan holds dear with a special fervor. Ron Kaplan is an original personality in the world of jazz vocalists and he has managed to put his name into that previously closed inner circle. He has breathed new life into it by the sheer force of his style, for as you know, ‘the style is the man himself’ “
… Jean Szlamowicz
Editor Jazz Hot
Paris October, 2006

Accompanying Ron are Pianist Marshall Otwell and Bassist Stan Poplin, both of which have appeared on numerous recordings, and have played with some of the biggest names in show business. They have each honed their talents over decades of dedication to the craft of playing and accompanying artists in the genre of Jazz and the Great American Songbook.

Ron Kaplan
Kapland Records
(831) 687-0278

Oracle Flyover in Support of ASPS

Oracle flyover

The American Songbook Preservation Society, a not-for-profit Foundation flew a plane with banner in tow around the corporate headquarters of Oracle in a plea for a charitible donation from CEO Larry Ellison on November 2nd, at Redwood Shores California. The monies would endow the Foundation in perpetuity to fulfill it’s mission, and thus become a National Institution preserving this music for future generations by offering concerts for the public benefit. The request comes as a result of a 2005 settlement requiring Mr. Ellison to dispense $100 million within 5 years to the charities of his choice.

…singing the Great American Songbook



Contact: Ronald Kaplan

Executive Director

(831) 687-0278 phone
(831) 295-3672 cell floats trial balloon by flying Airplane Banner around Corporate offices of Larry Ellison and Oracle in plea for endowment donation.

Donation will endow Foundation and its mission in perpetuity

Redwood Shores, California November 2, 2006 11 AM – The American Songbook Preservation Society, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit Foundation, is flying a small aircraft with banner in tow, around the Corporate headquarters of Oracle in an outside-the-box, guerilla marketing strategy to attract the attention of Larry Ellison CEO of Oracle, to endow the ASPS in perpetuity by donating 25 Million Dollars, so as to fulfill it’s mission: To preserve our cultural treasure known as the Great American Songbook, by presenting this music to the public at home and abroad as Ambassadors of Song.

According to Ronald Kaplan, founder and Executive Director, $25 Million Dollars will endow the Foundation in perpetuity and keep this music in front of the American Public and the world for the next 100 years and beyond.

This zenith of American Songwriting includes such luminous composers as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, George and Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Fields and Jimmy Van Huesen, Yip Harburg, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Hogey Carmichael, Al Dubin, Harry Warren and many others.

“This is about keeping this truly American music going beyond America’s Ambassador of Song, Tony Bennett” says Kaplan. “My intention is to build an Organization to stand the test of time. I have chosen to make this my personal mission as a labor of love, and am thrilled and honored to take up the task as “keeper of the flame,” and I will spend the rest of my life attending to this endeavor.”

This conception of this event was the result of a dream by new board member Judi Robert in contemplation of assisting Kaplan in achieving his mission. All donors are welcome.

Our Mission: To preserve our cultural treasure known as the great American Songbook by presenting this music to the public at home and abroad as Ambassadors of Song.