The American Songbook Preservation Society is a performance organization whose purpose is to continue the legacy of the Great American Songbook by performing these works in public to audiences in America and abroad. The organization features highly accomplished musicians and singers performing these works for public benefit and educational purposes. As singer Tony Bennett once said, This is America’s classical music.
What is the Great American Songbook, also known as the “Popular Standards”?
It is largely composed of songs written between 1920 and 1960 from the Tin Pan Alley era through the Broadway stages and sets of Hollywood musicals. The years from about 1920-1960 represented a unique period in the history of American popular music. It was a period that saw the advent of a new type of songwriting, utterly original in some respects, but grounded in the simple structure of the Tin Pan Alley era that preceded it, and strongly influenced by the musical form known as jazz (and by jazz’s precursors, ragtime and blues). Mostly composed for Broadway shows and Hollywood musicals, picked up and performed by singers and musicians of every variety, recorded on wax and broadcast on radio, this songwriting style quickly won the favor of the mass listening audience.
The Great American Songbook is a distinct body of musical works, which collectively represent one of America’s true cultural treasures, and exemplify popular songwriting at its best, with vivid, literate lyrics set to haunting elusive harmonies and gorgeous melodies that have come to hold an exalted place in American culture and around the world. Of the American Songbook Popular Standards, most were written for specific spots in shows, films, specialty acts, or revues. They were the product of professional songwriters and lyricists working at their craft. When a script called for a display of certain moods or feelings, the songwriters obliged. In the hands of a capable singer like Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra, the Standards serve as a sort of musical thesaurus of the spectrum of human emotions. Each is a miniature scene from life that can capture a wide emotional experience. Maybe that’s the reason these songs and this body of work continue to engender such a deep and true response to this day.
The purpose of the American Songbook Preservation Society is to keep these songs in the public consciousness, by performing them in venues around the country and around the world with the highest musical integrity and interpretation from a cast of highly capable Singers and Musicians as Ambassadors of American Song. The American Songbook Preservation Society is dedicated to this purpose.