Jonathan Poretz: A Lot of Livin’ to Do

If, perchance, you’ve been lamenting Steve Lawrence’s absence from record stores’ new release racks in recent decades, you can relax in the knowledge that Bay Area crooner Jonathan Poretz is here to fill that void. Poretz sounds so similar to the mid-1960s Lawrence that even Eydie Gormé would likely find it tough to tell them apart in a blindfold test. Actually, though, Poretz swings harder than the by-the-book Lawrence ever attempted.

Close listening reveals a thin layer of Mark Murphy grit beneath his polished patina and, particularly on “Come Rain or Come Shine,” a hint of Tony Bennett. In what amounts to a solid assortment of safely appealing standards, highlighted by a pleasurable blending of Frank Loesser’s “My Time of Day” and “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” from Guys and Dolls, Poretz proves himself a fine belter and balladeer.