Appearing in a rare performance, are the world famous Four Freshmen. Now in their 9th decade, the current Four Freshmen will showcase their warm, open-harmonic singing style and jazz arrangements that have had great appeal for audiences for many generations. The quartet includes, Bob Ferreira, bass vocals and drums, Jonathan Gaines, 3rd vocals and trumpet, Stein Malvey, 2nd vocals and guitar, and Tommy Boynton, lead vocals and bass. Starting in 1948, The original Four Freshmen were four young men who began creating a sound that forever changed the way vocal jazz harmony was heard and performed. The Four Freshmen blended open-harmonic jazz arrangements with a big band vocal sound. The original group started with brothers Don and Ross Barbour, Bob Flanigan, and Hal Kratzch. Flanigan sang tenor, Kratzch sang bass and played trumpet, laying the foundation for the Barbour brothers inner part stylings. Ross sang the 3rd part and played drums, Don sang the 2nd part and played guitar. The Four Freshmen were born and toured, playing bowling alleys and small clubs across the country. Early in their career, the Four Freshmen met Stan Kenton, and modeled their sound after Kenton’s trombone section. Kenton loved their sound and got Capitol records to sign and record them in 1950, creating a partrnership between them for over 10 years. The Four Freshmen had some big hits, including their first hit, “It’s A Blue World”. The Four Freshmen’s early years began at Butler University. They were influenced by Glenn Miller’s, The Modernaires, The Pied Pipers, Mel Tormes’, The Mel Tones , and Stan Kenton’s The Pastels. The Four Freshmen had successful hits with “Mood Indigo”, “Day By Day”, and “How Can I Tell Her”, and credited their success to the their appeal to collegiate audiences. The Four Freshmen influenced the musical stylings of The Hi-Los, The Lettermen, The Manhattan Transfer, and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, and other vocal groups. The Four Freshmen’s song, “Graduation Day” was a big influence on Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys’ sound. The Four Freshmen were nominated 6-times for a Grammy, won “Jazz Times” best vocal group award multiple times, won the “Down Beat best vocal group award 7 times, and made over 170 recordings. Since their founding in the late 1940’s, there have been 25 different members of The Four Freshmen, yet their same harmonic vocal style continues today.
The current Four Freshmen include Bob Ferreira, who did his music schooling in the state of Washington, and joined The Four Freshmen in 1992, sings bass vocals and plays drums. Bob has played on 11 of The Four Freshmen’s recordings. Jonathan Gaines studied at The New England Conservatory of Music and joined The Four Freshmen in 2017. Jonathan sings the 3rd part vocals and plays trumpet. Stein Malvey graduated from The Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and joined The Four Freshmen in 2013. Stein sings the 2nd part vocals and plays guitar. Tommy Boynton studied at Bill Mattson’s School for Music Vocations in Iowa, and graduated from The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Tommy joined The Four Freshmen in 2015, and sings lead vocals and plays bass. Tommy has worked with jazz artists Fred Hersch and Kate McGarry.