By Paul Goldfinger
July 14, 2012, in the Great Auditorium: The Frank Sinatra, Jr. concert was wonderful, exceeding all expectations. His performance was polished, and his co-star for the show was a magnificent 20 piece jazz orchestra. They had four trombones, 5 trumpets, a full sax section and even a french horn, a harp, 2 percussionists, a guitarist and a keyboardist. The sound of that big band was awesome, and the enthusiasm of the musicians was evident from start to finish. It was a beautiful tribute to Frank Sinatra, Sr., and his son filled the show with Sinatra standards.
Frank Sinatra, Jr. is his own man and should be appreciated on his own terms rather than by comparison with his dad, whose legacy will never be matched. But the truth is that the genetics are readily apparent and can’t be denied. Mr. Sinatra, age 68, has inherited his father’s effortless style and marvelous phrasing. In addition, Frank Jr. is a terrific interpreter of his father’s music. He has the feel for the lyrics and the respect for that era which are essential for this sort of show. He seems a bit stiff on stage, but his persona warmed up as the show went on. He chatted with the audience, providing some interesting historical perspective to the music. He gave credit to Gordon Jenkins, the long-time Sinatra arranger , whose charts were used for this show.
One song which he did, “The Summer Wind,” fit perfectly for the Great Auditorium because it reminded most of us of the big summer wind, Irene, which blew Frank’s concert last year into oblivion—the concert was cancelled. But this time— and the tickets from last year were honored— everyone appreciated the warm summer breezes floating intermittently thought the open doors of the GA.
A large audience gave the band and Mr. Sinatra a well-deserved standing ovation at the end. Not only was it a fine performance, but the effect, for those who love this music, was emotional and also surreal—-you could not help but feel like you had gone back in time to hear “old blue eyes” himself, performing in front of one of those big bands that were so popular back then.
Here is Frank Sinatra, Jr. performing “You’ll Never Know” from his album “That Face.”
And here is Frank Sinatra, Sr. perfoming “The Summer Wind.” (We couldn’t locate a Frank, Jr. version, but he did it very well last night.)