Kaplan has been recording since 1997, and this is his fifth album. It was originally recorded in ’99 and was recently remastered. In the process, two of the loveliest melodies were jettisoned: “Here’s That Rainy Day” and “In the Wee Small Hours.” They’re mentioned to give you insight into Kaplan’s taste for quality material. He is also the executive director of the American Songbook Preservation Society. There’s no doubt about his taste; the only problem is that his voice does not meet his own expectations.
He possesses a mellifluous instrument—between the baritone and tenor range—somewhat reminiscent of Johnny Hartman. But the comparison ends there. Kaplan is unable to control his intonation and often sings flat. Check “Blues in the Night,” “I Surrender Dear” and “Caravan” for illustrations. When he tries to embellish the melody, his voice tends to stray. Listen to “Just One of Those Things,” particularly his closing chorus. Same goes for Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’.” Kudos to guitarist Larry Scala for his steady support, but it’s a lost cause.