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Queens’ mainstay of doo-wop Kenny Vance to play free show

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Kenny Vance, the Belle Harbor native known as the Dylan of Doo-Wop, will bring his classic sound to Seaside Park in Coney Island for a free concert Sept. 1 at 7:15 p.m.

Vance, an original founding member of Jay & the Americans, who were made famous by songs such as “This Magic Moment” and “Come a Little Bit Closer,” also has a new album out with his band The Planotones: “Oceans of Time.”

The new disc, which includes both cover songs and originals in the style of 1950s doo-wop, helps cement Vance’s place as the leading elder statesman and preservationist of street corner singing and harmony in the 21st century and a tireless interpreter of all music in the doo-wop genre.

As he celebrates his 50th anniversary singing in vocal group harmony, Vance has no desire to pander to nostalgia for the golden oldies. Through his recording and performing with his band The Planotones, he is feeling more urgency than ever to almost single-handedly advance his extraordinary mission: to keep doo-wop music fresh and alive for generations to come while paying tribute to standards and classics of the genre.

“Guys like us have walked around 50 years with those songs living inside of us,” said Vance. “And when we interpret those songs, they come out with all of our own life experiences connected to them. I go to that place inside of myself, which connects to the song’s essence. I’m not going to these songs. They’re coming out of me.”

On “Oceans of Time,” original compositions such as the title track bring a contemporary perspective to the old doo-wop sound. At the other end of the spectrum, Vance and The Planotones offer a fresh take on “Cara Mia,” the Mantovani tune that was a big hit for Jay & the Americans in 1965 and has recently become a staple at The Planotones’ live shows.

Vance is a two-time hall of famer. He was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008, part of a class that included Barbara Streisand, Simon & Garfunkel, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond, Aaron Copeland, Carole King and Beverly Sills. He was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.

He has also had a long and fruitful career as a composer and producer, serving as musical director of “Saturday Night Live” for several years in the 1980s and curating soundtracks for such diverse and popular feature films as “American Hot Wax,” “Eddie and the Cruisers,” “Animal House” and “Hairspray.”

Get more info about Kenny Vance or purchase “Oceans of Time” at planotones.com.

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