"When Lamphere begins singing, everyone becomes very aware that this is not some non-chalant thing. It's an event!"
Singer-entertainer Frank Lamphere takes the stage at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
FRANK LAMPHERE BIOGRAPHY
Hitting All the Right Notes
CHICAGO, December 05, 2016 - During his brief amateur boxing career, that included a memorable fight against the eventual champion of the lightweight division in the Chicago Golden Gloves, many thought that Frank Lamphere (LAM-fear) hit like a heavyweight.
Today, with the "Sweet Science" an old but pleasant memory, Lamphere is a professional singer in the highly specialized genre known as traditional pop (Sinatra, Bennett, Dino, Crosby). Vast portions of his performances and repertoire are presented in big band and straight ahead jazz and Lamphere is proudly considered a vocal "heavyweight”.
An analogy can easily be made of a boxer working his way through the ranks to a title bout, to Lamphere's prominent rise in music. His musical journey began with hundreds of rounds of karaoke, mini sets with Italian wedding bands and eventually, beneficial sit-ins with such local (Chicago) musical luminaries as: pianists Buddy Charles and Billy Pierce to popular bands like those of Tony Smith and Jim Beebe. These early proving grounds helped lead to steady vocal work with the Johnny Gabor Trio, at the Flame of Countryside, which cemented Frank’s musical future. On off-nights hanging out at jam sessions, cocktails aside, Frank would soak up bigger than life stories, wisdom and methods of top jazz musicians. These experiences, along with his over-the-top repertoire (thousands of songs), and newly acquired PA system, gave Frank the confidence to seek out (where many had gone before) work of his own. And did he find it! A steady stream of club and hotel work (lasting about five years) ensued; all the while learning, improving, forming. It’s worth noting that Lamphere has a day job. Deck carpenter-contractor and owner of A-Affordable Decks, which will celebrate 25 years in business in 2017.
In time though, Frank outgrew the club scene. He wanted to take his performance to the next level and believed this could best happen while working with a larger band. Frank built a website: ratpackjazz.com, recorded a full length album (attracting national attention), sang with other prominent bands, advertised his services in wedding magazines, bought charts from other band leaders and began bringing in work from non club sources, from all over the country. Instead of singing to 45 listeners in a little jazz club, Frank now had his own powerhouse band performing to 300-500 attendees of a gala or fundraiser.
Though music is a tough business to succeed in, Frank never had the desire or temptation to perform solo. That is, using background tracks (like many singers) in order to secure more work. He has insisted on performing with a live band which consequently eliminated some opportunities, eagerly filled by others. But if success can be measured, not just in terms of quality of jobs and income, but by the admiration and respect from both fans and colleagues alike, then his, is a story of success.
It took some time, but Lamphere has climbed high up the “musical ladder”. From this enviable position, Frank can survey with pride his many accomplishments. He has sung for radio and television commercials, performed in numerous shows (including headlining) across the Midwest, New York and Milan, Italy. Frank’s EP of original songs Frank Swings, is being heard on radio stations around the world. One of the songs from the EP (I Never Forgot) is in fact, featured prominently in the award-winning independent film Theresa Is a Mother. He has been hired across the U.S, to sing for special occasions, birthday parties, wedding receptions and much corporate work. His entertaining services are more in-demand than ever.
What is it about Frank Lamphere’s singing that sets him apart from many of his contemporaries? At his core, he is a pop singer. The type that made their mark on popular music after the Second World War and who had a largely uncontested popularity for twenty years. He thoroughly enjoys what he does. He sings with passion and gusto, in a very masculine, yet believable way. Not Broadway! Not cute! Like the boxer he was, he has many “offensive” options at his disposal. His specialty swing feel could be likened to a left jab; rhythmically moving into the pocket, probing the audience with various degrees of tempo; waiting for the right moment to deliver “the haymaker”, the ballad. And rather than make them ring, Frank's crooning is filled with rich, flowing vowels that caress and are readily welcomed into the listeners’ ears. Throw in some blues, old time rock, Latin dance and Italian music (in real Italian) and it adds up to a well rounded singer that offers a tremendous variety. Unlike a tried and true jazz singer, Lamphere doesn’t try to completely reinvent a song, for the sake of being different. It’s not his thing. He will frequently make a time signature, tempo or subtle harmonic change and all the while, swing wildly. Make no mistake, his version of a tune will bear his stamp. Frank works with some of the strongest rhythm players on the scene; they lay down the groove while Frank "bobs and weaves" around them and "lands" the lyrics in all the right spots. This not only gives potency to his phrasing, but also adds a finger-snapping element, that is a force to reckon with. Combine superlative timing with a warm and effective baritone, intonation that with time has gotten even smoother, near laser-like pitch, showmanship in droves and vocal range that can nail a Bb; well then, that will probably help to explain what separates the men from the boys and what has put Frank Lamphere at the top of the division.
It's a different ring that Frank climbs into today. It's one where he can really land some "shots" but unlike boxing, leave the target begging for more. Frank has headlined at the Chicago Taylor Street Festa Italiana, performed before 22,000 at the United Center and had shows at the Palms and Cosmopolitan Casinos in Las Vegas. Concert & other booking inquiries may be pursued at the Rat Pack Jazz website. Lamphere plans to enter the studio in the near future to record his third CD, probably a Dean Martin project. Needless to say, he'll be going for a knockout!
Frank Lamphere Italian American night at U.S. Cellular Field
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