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Friday, July 10, 2009

Tom Jones

Tonight @ The Riverside Theater, 8 p.m.

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It’s not the type of moment that brings Emmy voters to tears, but by the standards of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” it was pretty touching: In the final episode, Will Smith joins Carlton in dancing to his nerdy cousin’s favorite song, Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual,” closing one of the series’ longest-running gags. The joke, as it turns out, isn’t that Carlton likes Tom Jones, it’s that everyone secretly likes Tom Jones, even an ambassador of cool like Will Smith. And what’s not to like? Jones’ swinging, hypersexual lounge pop has resonated for more than four decades, with the singer’s popularity culminating in an unexpected 1999 smash album Reload, the most successful of his career. At 69 years old, Jones has stayed up to date with contemporary music, most recently recording last year’s 24 Hours with the Lily Allen and Estelle production team Future Cut.
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