NORMAN — Jazzy melodies will conjure visions of famous crooners like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin when the Four Freshmen fill the Sooner Theatre with swingy vocal harmonies tonight.
Starting in 1948, the group quickly became famous for their renditions of “Graduation Day,” “Poinciana,” “Day by Day” and “Blue World.” Though the faces of the group have changed throughout the years, Bob Ferreira, Brian Eichenberger, Vince Johnson and Curtis Calderon will pay homage to the original group at this weekend’s performance.
“A lot of people ask if there’s a lot of pressure to continue the legacy but we don’t see it like that. The four of us, we take pride in the sound and making it sound the best that we can make it sound,” Ferreira, p singer for the group, said. “The original lead singer, Bob Flanigan, who passed away last year, said that this was the best group since the original group. That says a lot coming from him, who was one of the biggest parts of why that sound was so unique.”
In the 60 plus year history of the group, the four have recorded over 50 albums. Ferreira said the group plays a cross-section of music — from pop to jazz — that spans the history of the group at every concert.
For the Norman concert, Ferreira said the four will be playing some songs that have not been officially released.
The new songs are a part of the group’s most recent recording project, Ferreira said, that will tentatively be released in late spring or early summer. The CD can be purchased online at www.4freshmen.com.
“We basically have a little bit of everything for everyone and we have fun on stage. We like to change it up a little bit,” he said. “I think what a lot of people don’t realize is the Four Freshmen have always accompanied themselves instrumentally.
“A lot of people will think, ‘Does the group always play instruments?’ And the answer is yes. They’ll be able to see that. We change it up during the show and make it a little more intimate around one microphone. I think it’s something that the audience will definitely enjoy and appreciate.”
The four’s fanbase is mostly those who remember the hits from the 1950s, Ferreira said, and enjoy the nostalgia of the group’s music. But still, he said, their music will appeal to anyone who enjoys pieces from the Great American Songbook.
“We have some younger fans that really appreciate what we do. I like to refer to us as we’re kind of like the espresso of vocal groups, meaning that sometimes it’s an acquired taste,” he said, laughing. “The people who appreciate our music have a more refined palate in listening to music. Especially the younger people who really appreciate what we do.”
Though much of what the group does is based off of the original group’s vision, Ferreira said the four hope to continue to record music, perform live and expand their fanbase.
“Any musician’s goal is when they share music is to get it out to as many people as possible, and hope that they appreciate it,” he said. “Not just for the money or for fame, but to make sure they are able to express their music.”