Alan Kaplan | Lonely Town

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Easy Listening: Love Songs Jazz: Smooth Jazz Moods: Instrumental
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Lonely Town

by Alan Kaplan

An album of beautiful standard songs played by trombone with 30 piece orchestra accompaniment.
Genre: Easy Listening: Love Songs
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ebb Tide
3:55 $0.99
2. Angel Eyes
4:58 $0.99
3. Their Hearts Were Full of Spring
2:56 $0.99
4. I Think of You
4:39 $0.99
5. Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry
3:18 $0.99
6. Only the Lonely
3:59 $0.99
7. Nancy
2:37 $0.99
8. I Fall in Love too Easily
3:12 $0.99
9. You'll Never Know
4:07 $0.99
10. Emily
3:16 $0.99
11. The Night We Called it a Day
4:26 $0.99
12. My One and Only Love
3:15 $0.99
13. Lonely Town
3:23 $0.99
14. Try to Remember
4:13 $0.99
15. Don't Like Goodbyes
3:48 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
In a world filled with cacophonous cries of rage masquerading as singing and interminable electronic thumping passed off as rhythm, it does the music lover's heart good to hear a living artist who still appreciates those rapidly vanishing attributes known as melody and sentiment.

Sure, we have our Frank Sinatra memories and our Ella Fitzgerald reveries, our favorite Benny Goodman recordings and cherished Billie Holiday performances.

But so many of today's musicians - if such a term can be applied to rappers and shouters and distortion merchants - seem oblivious to the beauty, the very real possibility of joy and pleasure, that heartfelt music can bring into our lives.

How many times have you put an old Tommy Dorsey disc on the stereo and, letting the waves of music wash over you like a warm sonic sea, thought, "they just don't make 'em like they used to"? Well, Alan Kaplan still does.

Welcome to Lonely Town, a place where love and regret, pining and rejoicing, and everything else that makes us human can be heard emanating from the bell of a trombone.

This collection of timeless songs, arranged and performed by some of the Los Angeles area's best musicians, makes you realize all over again that beautiful music never completely goes away.

It just waits to be rediscovered.

Kaplan's Lonely Town is the realization of a life-long dream.

One of the entertainment industry's elite studio players - he can be hard on everything from Star Trek to The Simpsons, Barbra Streisand in Concert to Sleepless in Seattle - Alan Kaplan is accustomed to performing every kind of music imaginable.

(The license plate on his car reads MANOWA, in tribute to the thousands of cartoons he's accompanied throughout his recording career.) But playing ballads is his first love.

While most kids in the 60s were stamping their feet to the Rolling Stones, Kaplan was tapping his to bittersweet torch songs.

Even as a lad in high school, the fledgling trombonist listened to every ballad record he could find, envisioning himself someday recording classic arrangements of classic songs with a classic orchestra.

A musician since age eight, Kaplan tried to prepare for a "real" job, majoring in engineering at LA Valley College, but by 19 he was on the road with Buddy Rich, the youngest trombonist ever to play lead with that band.

The next decade found him working with big band legends such as Harry James, Louis Bellson, Don Ellis and Lionel Hampton.

By the late 70's, Kaplan was being compared to trombone greats Carl Fontana and Frank Rosolino.

And all the time he kept listening to those ballads.


Never mind that T. Dorsey has been replaced by the likes of Snoop Dogg.

In a place called Lonely Town, one man's dreams still come true.

In turn, so do countless other fantasies harbored deep in the hearts of every music lover who adores a good tune played well.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, beautiful music still aches to be heard.

Rare artists like Alan Kaplan and his orchestra keep our hopes alive.


1. Ebb Tide.
Arranged by the legendary Russ Garcia.
The signature Kaplan style: legato, relaxed, effortless.
Feel the waves wash you away.

2. Angel Eyes.
Arranged by pianist and composer Bill Cunliffe.
A testament to the superb musicianship on this recording: This multi-layered melange of strings and winds and one plaintive horn, along with the other 12 orchestral tracks on Lonely Town, were all recorded in just seven hours.

3. Their Hearts Were Full of Spring.
Arranged by Joe Curiale.
On this Bobby Troup tune Kaplan overdubs five trombone parts to emulate the vocal qualities of the original Four Freshmen recording.

4. I Think of You.
Arranged by Russ Garcia.
This is the melody from Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto famously transformed into a pop song and immortalized in 1941 by Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra. Here Kaplan expertly emulates their timeless style.

5. Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry.
Arranged by Joe Curiale.
Even if you didn't know the words, your soul hears a broken heart.

6. Only The Lonely.
Arranged by Bob Alcivar.
On this 3 AM and a bottle of whiskey tune, Kaplan produces the kind of long and languorous phrases that would make Mr. Sinatra proud.

7. Nancy.
Arranged by Joe Curiale.
See above!

8. I Fall in Love too Easily.
Arranged by Tom Ranier.
This is a song Kaplan has always adored. In Tom Ranier's beautiful arrangement you might hear the influence of the great Urbie Green, whose recording of this song is a classic.

9. You'll Never Know.
Arranged by Bob Alcivar.
Dedicated to Alan Kaplan's mother and his late father. This was their wedding song, and he always dreamed of recording it for them.

10. Emily.
Arranged by Joe Curiale.
With apologies to Tony Bennett, this could become the definitive recording of this pretty tune. Kaplan plays his horn as though he were a singer.

11. The Night We Called it a Day.
Arranged by Steve Bernstein.
Here Kaplan introduces the seldom-heard verse to this wonderful Matt Dennis song, dear to anyone whose ever had a broken heart.

12. My One and Only Love.
Arranged by Russ Garcia.
An homage to two special people: Dick Nash, who played the definitive version of this (and so many other songs) on trombone; and Kaplan's beautiful wife, the singer Tierney Sutton. In fact, this was their wedding song, which they performed together post-nuptials!

13. Lonely Town.
Arranged by Joe Curiale.
This wonderful song by Leonard Bernstein closes the orchestral portion of the album, bidding us adieu to a solitary place we'd like to re-visit again and again.

14. Try to Remember.
A Hoyt Bohannon transcription of a Gene Puerling arrangement.
Both these bonus tracks were recorded at Kaplan's home studio on a Tascam 788 Porta-Studio. They're arranged for a variety of tenor trombones and bass trombones, eight in all, including a King 2102L, a Conn 8H, a Conn88H and a Conn 62H

15. Don't Like Goodbyes.
Arranged by Bob Alcivar.
No one does - not unless they lead to many more helloes, with the sounds of a lush orchestra and an assured trombone welcoming us to a world of aural pleasure.



to write a review

CD Baby

An album of beautiful standard songs played by trombone with a gorgeous 30 piece orchestra accompaniment. Like velvet, it is soft; like ice cream, it is cool. This is a throw back to the days when jazz bands had all kinds of instruments, and knew how to play them. Put it all together into one tantalizing mixture of sultry and mellow and you've got an all around fabulous easy listening jazz.

Timothy Skeldon

A Celebration of Melody Through Restraint and Good Taste
I just wanted to thank Alan again (having left a short comment on YouTube previously) for validating the lyric voice of the trombone, and the rightful authority of melody in general though your work. It has been decades since a generation of capable 'instrumentalists' earned the right to the title of 'musician' for too reliably failing the tenets of its faith. You have redeemed my faith in trombonists, who more often than not disappoint me for abdicating responsibility for…resonant, authentic trombone sound.

I don’t know when I have heard such restraint and humility in face of both lyric obligation and service of phrase that these pieces deserve; especially given the muse of invitation and invocation that these great melodies excite in gifted performers who want to celebrate them, through personal expression of gratitude, by leaving the polite hug of an appoggiatura, the delicate kiss of a portamento, or the sensual caress of a protracted riff upon the face of a deserving musical brow.

No longer do tasteful instrumentalists simply channel the authority of someone else’s invention (as you have done here), to let the ‘music’ speak through their facility and faculties, because instrumentalists today are no longer satisfied with being the cantors of someone else's gospel. For having achieved simple instrumental competency, they falsely believe themselves also to be musical profits. This album is manifest proof that ‘less’ really is more if music is the goal rather than the musician.

Alan is done no service for being comparing to the famous one-trick-ponies that play bebop and hard jazz. More geese than swans I fear. [This is a reference to the Celtic myth that the mute swan, which remains silent its whole life, speaks one perfect, profound note only upon its death; while geese never shut up). I would have more trombonists stop trying to overcome the ‘insecurity of the slide’, to sooner realize wherein the true strength of their unique voice lies.

Mere instrumentalists, the lessor, as opposed to musicians, the greater, fail to achieve intimacy for lacking lyrical roots, and fail in simple service of music for lack of humility in face of the great melodies. Today, the authority of melody is lost to a generation of uninitiated public, and much of the blame has to go to instrumentalists who should know better, but instead, aspire to promote themselves ahead of, and therefore at the expense of music. Alan, a musician, does not.

By such trite means are musical ‘celebrities’ made today. Only amateur musicians [sic], technique and range nerds, fanatics, similarly inclined instrumentalist, and those who rate ostentation above musical communion, for desiring to participate in it themselves (but being unable to for lacking the gift) celebrate this unmusical paradigm of conspicuous excess. Alan can rip with the best of them; he just has more taste than to do it here.

When Alan plays, music lovers listen, not just trombonists. No lover of classical music or pop wants to hear a be-bop trombonist (nor do I); neither for that matter does any other bebop instrumentalist who isn’t a trombone player, except to exclaim their surprise that a trombone can ‘approximate’ the technical facility of superior instruments. To a greater degree than is true for other instrumentalists, only trombonists listen to trombonists. When Alan plays, I don’t even here a trombone, just a voice. There is not greater compliment.

It has become the case that great classical music is now irrelevant, but thankfully it is supported by arrogance of an educated and financially affluent elite, desperate for association with something that might share its ‘class’ with them. But who will support jazz as it loses its way for losing its voice, and abandoning music’s foundations? The only people that listen to jazz these days do so for wanting to participate in it, not to listen to it! I wonder, is the affiliate authority that supports things associated with African-American culture rich enough to keep jazz alive too? It had better be.

Jazz now, like pop before it, has become a matter of nominal celebrity (but with an infinitely smaller audience of instrumental geeks and politically motivated civil correspondents), because it pays only the dividend of simple entertainment to those impressed by the obvious ‘populist’ quality of speed. No one cares about the music, just the improvisational fireworks of celebrity instrumentalist. The same thing happened to opera in the 19th C, but composers realized it and put a stop to all coloratura excess.

And by what arrogance do improvisers believe that they are creating anything worthwhile anyway: a moment that needed to be heard, just as a photograph must capture a moment that was worth seeing. And trombonists are the worst of them for ‘abandoning their tonal obligation in pursuit of overcoming the slide (which is not a thing to be overcome but celebrated). At least Rob McConnel realized this and switched to valve trombone to retain tone at speed such as those devices facilitate.

Think about it: most improvisations are possessed only of the occasional reflective moments, which poke conspicuously through the dense modal undergrowth, buoyed usually only by authority of having quoted someone else’s predicate invention. Seldom do they accidentally manage anything that borders on profundity; something 'creatively' melodic, rhythmic or otherwise. By this album, Alan promotes himself to that elite field of instrumentalists that deserve to be call musicians.

Alan’s lyric sense and beautiful tone are richly infused with legitimate ‘style’ (nuance). What does it say about the state of professional trombone playing that you can distinguish yourself simply by having good sound. Too many players with gross ‘character’ sound propose that you should excuse their lack of tone, as it were an acceptable price to pay, to be excused by other…virtuosities. Well I don’t, and Alan’s playing is my new enthusiasm.

Alan’s sound is full of style, but his tone is beautifully characterless: by which I mean without defect of quality, and always resonantly and resolutely ‘trombonistic’. That’s a compliment. Like the operatic tenor (and the cello; the trombone’s string sibling) no one dislikes the sound of a properly excited trombone; rare as that is. The trombone’s voice is not an acquired taste as are most other instruments. It is the ‘tenor’ (meaning quality) of voice that best resonates innately with everyone, in service of song. Alan, you are in the best of company, for you distinguish yourself as a voice rather than an instrument. I can think of no greater compliment!

Having now been exposed to it, I would recognize Alan’s playing anywhere now as a result of his restraint, good taste, and many varied and evocative articulations. As a result, I will review his other contributions to the musical culture for clearer evidence of it. I’m resolved that if Chet Baker had been a trombonist, he would have played like Alan, but the defect of the trumpets condition is that it doesn’t have a slide. “Sorry Chet! Good try though!”



Great CD, perfect arrangements. I'm glad I found Alan through and bought this CD.

Don Heckman La Times

A sumptuous string-filled instrumental album of ballads
Trombonist Kaplan has probably performed on thousands of recordings and soundtracks, from "The Simpsons" to Barbra Streisand. For his own debut recording, he gathered a collection of equally gifted studio associates, brought in such fine arrangers as Russ Garcia, Bill Cunliffe and Tom Ranier, and assembled a kind of sumptuous, string-filled, instrumental version of Frank Sinatra's atmospheric late-night recordings. Kaplan's lush sound and moody way with a melody are front and center in a collection of tunes overflowing with the enigmatic qualities of love lost and found--tunes such as "Angel Eyes," "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry," "I Fall in Love Too Easily" and "Only the Lonely." Best experienced with a bottle of Cabernet and a roaring fireplace.


my mom played music like this when I was a kid ..GREAT
I had no idea the memories this smooth sound would bring back. This CD reflects great talent and is enjoyed by various age groups.

Michael Breskin

Alan Kaplan's album "Lonely Town" is wonderful listening!
Alan Kaplan captured the feeling of the era
with his album "Lonely Town".

His music is truly a joy to listen to.

A musical masterpiece!

Michael Breskin
Digital Artist & Photographer

Murray Cuthbert

Wonderful playing by a wonderful player!
Congratulations, Alan! I first heard you with the Buddy Rich Band and, what great jazz playing for such a young man!!!! Your jazz playing is second to none, and you show your true soul on this album. Beautiful tunes and a beautiful sound. How about some more! All the best to you and your family.

Thomas Zsivkovits

outstanding musicanship! sweet mellow tone and marvellous arrangements! one of my new favourite bone cd´s!

Clint Herschel

Excellent orchestral, jazz music w/ trombone
The music is top quality orchestral work with Alan Kaplan on the trombone. The soft and lonely melodies make this a delightful album that invokes a feeling of nostalgia. The melodies are very leisurely played, never rushed, never hurried. This album takes its time to express the mood of Lonely Town. What a wonderful work!

Waring Abbott

Excellent CD, Gorgeous Playing...
Excellent CD, gorgeous performance. Even my wife (not a big fan of any kind of brass) commented on how wondeful it was. If you can reach my wife, Alan, you have done a fine job! But you do need a better photo for the cover...
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