The Four Freshmen are perhaps best remembered for their 50s chart topper "Graduation Day" and for music before the rock 'n' roll assault. Introducing themselves as the "Osmond Brothers of the stone age", they proceeded to re-create through their songs at time past when music was mellow and meant for romancing, not rebelling. The audience, which had come to Sunday's free concert at DAR Constitution Hall with reminiscing in mind, was greatly appreciative.
The Freshmen (they actually began as freshmen at Butler University, but never graduated) are in their 31st year of performing in a style that has varied little from the beginning. They sing like four trombones as they attack unison notes and then slide into close harmonies, crescendoing and diminishing on one breath. The Stan Kenton influence is patent.
The Four Freshmen were ably backed by the Airmen of Note, the official jazz ensemble for the Air Force, who opened the concert with the most energetic piece of the show, Paul Kondziela's "Do Have At It."
"You Are So Beautiful," written, arranged and soloed by Freshman Dennis Grillo, provided a welcome contemporary note but couldn't relieve the anachronistic weight of four well-into-middle-age Freshmen.
A joke in questionable taste about gays and their voice ranges showed just how behind the times the Four Freshmen are.