54 Salutes Frank Sinatra
Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, January 24, 2017
Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes
Scott Siegel brought seven extraordinarily talented male vocalists to pay tribute to Frank Sinatra in this his centenary-plus-one year. As a lifetime Sinatra fan, I can not imagine a more representative group of songs to celebrate Sinatra than the 12 that Siegel chose. Musical Director and pianist Mark Hartman provided the perfect musical background for each of the vocalists, and frequently provided solos that enhanced their performances. Scott Siegel’s commentary on each of the songs performed was informative, interesting and often funny.
Jack Noseworthy opened the show appropriately with “Come Fly with Me” followed by “All the Way.” Scott Coulter was next, with an emotionally satisfying “Theme from New York, New York” that was quite different from Sinatra’s and Liza Minnelli’s versions. Sal Viviano told an amusing story about Jule Styne, before singing Styne and Sammy Cahn’s “Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)” followed by a truly exceptional performance of “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” that had me visualizing Viviano actually singing it to a bartender. He returned later for a medley of “I Fall in Love Too Easily” and “Just in Time.” Danny Gardner sang and tap danced nicely through Sinatra’s homage to Chicago, “My Kind of Town (Chicago Is),” and “I’ve Got the World on a String.” Aaron Ramey reminded us that Sinatra had recorded “Night and Day” in many different tempos; he chose to do a very exciting up-tempo version. Deciding not to compete with Sinatra’s iconic “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” Ramey did a soft, slow, very satisfying vocal. Douglas Ladnier provided an extremely dramatic “Here’s That Rainy Day” and an excellent pre-Valentine’s Day “My Funny Valentine.” Rafael Rodriguez, making his cabaret debut, showed promise of things to come with “Softly as I Leave You.” Coulter closed the show by singing “My Way” his way.