The Sinatra centennial


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If you are going to have a vocal doppelganger, who better than Frank Sinatra?

Such is the case for singer Walt Andrus, who puts his uncanny  vocal similarities to the test Monday, March 16 at the Naples Jazz Orchestra's Sinatra centennial concert—and passed with flying colors. The event drew more than 3,000 people to Cambier Park in downtown Naples FL.

Andrus is a veteran big band singer, whose most notable work included 15 years (from 1988-2004) with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra conducted by Buddy Morrow. His forte is the Sinatra repertoire. He doesn't sound like an imitator. He's just blessed with very fine pipes and an ability to deliver on the repertoire in his own convincing way.

The very fine Naples Jazz Orchestra put the swing in the charts, pushed and prodded by musical director Bob Stone's hard-driving drums. The evening's two sets included a wide array of Sinatra-associated material, from his early big band days to more saloon-style material.

Treats included their explorations of “Yellow Days," “Witchcraft," “One More for the Road"  and “The Best is Yet to Come." Sinatra's Chicago tribute “My Kind of Town," was a perfect fit for the evening given Stone's long big band association with the Windy City. It set up the delivery a few songs later of the Sinatra staple “New York, New York." “Strangers in the Night" was the evening's encore.

With the 100th anniversary of Sinatra's birth coming on December 12, there is an audience hunger for events such as this during 2015. This is a powerhouse band, with Andrus in tow, that ought to capitalize on that momentum.

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