Joe Williams

Home/Tag:Joe Williams

Society Of Singers Night to Honor Frank Sinatra, 3 December 1990

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:33+00:00 April 7th, 2013|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Society of Singers Night, 3 December 1990. A truly magnificent night in the history, though not known by a lot of people.  Sinatra was awarded with the Ella award by Society of Singers, but more importantly, legends of music joined this evening to honor Frank Sinatra and sing for him. Those were the singers from the big band era, from different orchestras. 50 years before this night, in the early 1940’s, Sinatra and Connie Haines and Jo Stafford had sung together, and this night, both honored him with singing the same songs. It is not common experience for a singer to relive those 50 year old memories, and it is just beautiful. And while you might expect these legends to perform not well at the age of 65 or 75, even 94 year old George Burns is ready to surprise you.

Henry Mancini: The 1940’s was known as the era of the big bands. Dorsey, James, Miller, Basie, Ellington, big bands, live music. They also produced a special kind of vocalist. No tricks, no electronics, just singers. Singers who stood in front of the big bands.

Recently, a group known as the Society of Singers gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The event honored one of their own, Frank Sinatra, and the 60 years of music and entertainment he has given people all over the world. The Society of Singers is formed of a popular artist of today, as well as the legendary performers from the era of big bands. They came together on this evening to perform their greatest hits as they honored the chairman of the board.

Ginny Mancini: To celebrate our engagement, we went to the Empire Room of Waldorf Astoria to hear a young singer named Frank Sinatra. He entered from the back of the room to an Axel Stordahl intro with a cup and a saucer in his hand and came in to sing “they’ve got awful lot of coffee in Brazil”, followed by a stunning rendition of Kurt Weill’s “Lost In the stars”, little stars, big stars, blowing the night and we’re lost hearing the stars. Well of course you see, Mr. Wonderful and I were experiencing the wonder of young love, and so you see how Frank Sinatra came in to play, and the memory lingers on… Tonight we honor the Pied Piper Frank Sinatra, with an award inaugurated last year in the name of Ella Fitzgerald. That says something about the integrity for which it stands.

After Ella Fitzgerald sings “There Will Never Be Another You”, Frank Sinatra comes to stage with his grandchildren A.J Lambert and her sister Amanda Lambert, to receive his award.

Frank Sinatra: I love you!

Ella Fitzgerald: I love you too for many years!

Frank Sinatra: No mine longer than yours tho.

Ella Fitzgerald: Not that much longer

Frank Sinatra: Yea yea, I am older!

Ella Fitzgerald: Ladies and Gentlemen, what can I say, what can we say about this great wonderful man who has brought so much pleasure in his music to you, but to say we love him. I love you, they love you, and I love you, we just keep on saying we love you.

And Frank Sinatra receives his lifetime achievement award from Society Of Singers.

Frank Sinatra: I have been honored in my lifetime, twice. First time by the police department of Hoboken New Jersey, and a few days later my old man took care of the job. But, it is difficult to find words to tell you how much I appreciate what you’ve done, all of you, for the organization, which I am very proud to be part of; and to be in this part of the show business, the singing end of show business and I mean I just put (Gene) Kelly down so many times dancing I thought I better stay with singing because it was embarrassing, you know what I mean? I felt badly for him at the time.

And Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald sing “The Lady Is a Tramp” Together. Obviously, Sinatra does not want it to end, and they repeat the last part twice. A moment that will not be relived again. It was American history, at this very special Society Of Singers night…

After the beautiful duet, Jack Jones sings a version of the song “I am a singer” written by Gerard Kenny, lyrics of which was changed to personalize Frank Sinatra for this special Society Of Singers event. When the lyrics hit “He is Sinatra, he sings us songs, he brings the words to life, and he keeps the beat where it belongs”, Frank Sinatra gets very emotional and tears fill his eyes.

Society Of Singers Frank Sinatra

After these moments, Jack Jones introduces George Burns.

Jack Jones: Ladies and Gentlemen, no show about singers would be complete without a performance for one of the truly great vocal artists, the silver throat of Nathan Birnbaum ladies and gentlemen.

George Burns: Thank you for the standing ovation. Look, if I can stand, you can stand. Frank Sinatra recorded Young At Heart years ago and sold millions and millions and millions. That’s the song I’m gonna sing tonight. At my age you can follow anybody.

And we hear George Burns sing “Young At Heart”, at the age of 94! During the song, George Burns says: You know, I’ve been around for a lot of years, and there’s one thing I believe, and it works for me, and it’ll work for you too. You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.

Next song is Harry Connick Jr. – More

And Jo Stafford, Frank Sinatra’s friend from Tommy Dorsey era, and a member of Pied Pipers of Tommy Dorsey orchestra, comes to stage to sing “I’ll never smile again”. An amazing moment, just like in 1940’s; and we realize that 50 years were not enough to change anything. When you think of it, it is just amazing to see all these legends at Society Of Singers night because it just seems impossible to gather all the legends after 50 years.

Jo Stafford Society of Singers Frank Sinatra

After Jo Stafford, Tony Bennett is on the stage.

Tony Bennett: Oh boy, what a beautiful night, what a magnificent night. I’ve seen many shows in my life but this is the greatest audience and the greatest performers I’ve ever seen. Frank Sinatra asked me to sing this song and I love it. It is a magnificent, wonderful song.

And “How Do You Keep The Music Playing” starts…

Then Manhattan Transfer and Connie Haines sing “Snootie Little Cutie”, full of life.

A special part of the Society Of Singers show awaits us after this great performance, and Peggy Lee shares her memories and sings a song for Sinatra.

Peggy Lee: Hello Frank. I have so many memories, and Barbara, you simply must forgive me; I’ve been in love with that mean all the years I’ve known him. But it’s OK, it’s platonic, I think… I think about those things, you know, one day we built a home. You built yours and I built mine upon a hill, and a lot of wonderful things happened there. I even remember the firecrackers you used to set off about three or something in the morning. First it frightened me but then I realized it was Francis Albert up there. With Jimmy Van Heusen and all the gang. And, we had barbecues, well we had one barbecue I remember, and all those dear things, so many… And a special version of “The Man I Love” starts, for Frank Sinatra.

So emotional, so beautiful. A moment captured in time, reminding us that the world is full of beauties, and nostalgia is a powerful feeling that strike our hearts. And with these videos, it is timeless, it is immortal.

Peggy Lee Frank Sinatra

Just after that, Tony Danza and Gretchen Wyler perform a dance show and Herb Jeffries sings Flamingo. Tony Martin follows them with a perfect performance of “There’s No Tomorrow – O Sole Mio”.

Frances Langford introduces the ladies that sang with the big bands and a marvelous sequence of performances start.

Kay Starr sings “What a difference a day makes” and it is unbelievably amazing. At the age of 68, her voice and how good she looks while singing is wonderful.

Helen Forrest, 73 years old, sings “I Had the Craziest Dream”, again an outstanding performance.

Martha Tilton sings “And the Angels Sing”.

And we hear Bea Wain perform “Deep Purple”.

Kitty Kallen, before starting to sing, says “Will you help me? I am scared to death” and sings “It’s been a long, long time”, beloved by everyone in the room.

Helen O’Connell sings “Tangerine”.

Fran Warren sings “I Want a Sunday Kind of Love”, with a very strong voice.

And lastly, The Sentimentalists sing “On the Sunny Side of the Street”, followed by Joe Williams performing “Alright, Okay, You Win”.

After these, another special part starts, where Eydie Gorme and Stewe Lawrence sings songs written by Frank Sinatra.

Stewe Lawrence: For many years, Frank Sinatra has received many awards for his artistic achievements as a singer, as a performer and as an actor. But there is another creative side of Frank that is generally now too well known. Now besides singing a lot of great songs, he also wrote quite a few of them. And, this evening Eydie and I selected a couple of our favorites composed by Francis Albert, and ladies and gentlemen, we’d like to celebrate Sinatra the Songwriter.

Eydie Gorme sings “This Love Of Mine” and Stewe Lawrence sings “I’m A Fool To Want You”, which is performed beautifully.  It is not common for this song to be performed live, with Sinatra in the same room, which makes it more special.

This beautiful night by Society Of Singers ends with all people singing “Dream” first, then Sinatra takes the microphone.

Frank Sinatra: May I thank you, fellow singers and performers. I love you. I am kinda hung up a little bit with my throat so I won’t say too much, but it was a marvelous evening tonight. I had a great time tonight, I really did.

And everybody sings “Alright, Okay, You Win” together, closing the night for Society Of Singers event, such wonderful moments…

You can browse the Society Of Singers website here. On special events section, you can see the following:

ELLA honorees (most recent listed first):

2014 Mike Love, 2011 Smokey Robinson, 2010 Natalie Cole, 2009 Herb Alpert & Lani Hall, 2008 Andy Williams, 2007 Gladys Knight, 2006 Johnny Mathis, 2005 Elton John, 2004 Celine Dion, 2003 Barry Manilow, 2002 Placido Domingo, 2001 Julie Andrews, 2000 Tony Bennett, 1999 Joe Williams, 1998 Rosemary Clooney, 1997 Lena Horne, 1995 Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, 1994 Peggy Lee, 1992 Tony Martin, 1990 Frank Sinatra, 1989 Ella Fitzgerald.

And on the youtube page of Society of Singers, there are some short videos from certain nights you might find interesting.

And on the shop page of Society of Singers website, you can purchase items to support the Society of Singers group and help their cause.

Dennis Rowland Interview About Frank Sinatra

By | 2017-06-10T00:19:37+00:00 March 27th, 2012|Categories: Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , |

The most important thing about Dennis Rowland, in terms of reputation, is that he started to work with Count Basie Orchestra in 1977 and continued to be the orchestra’s vocalist for 7 years. Famous singers like Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams had been a part of the Basie Orchestra before, and having their spot and singing with the Count Basie Orchestra is no doubt very incredible and a life-time experience. Dennis Rowland also shared the stage with Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald, which is very important to mention.

I must say Dennis Rowland has a really great voice and phrasing. He is completely able to deliver the lyrics to you, in a rich and strong way. My ideas are based on studio recordings and online videos, but I am sure it must feel great to see him singing live. He obviously enjoys singing a lot, and is full of life on stage. This way, he fills the stage and warms you with his unique voice.

Dennis Rowland - Frank Sinatra Interview

Dennis Rowland

Dennis Rowland, thankfully, has been interested in answering my questions about Frank Sinatra.

Hello Mr. Rowland, I am Ozgun Akalin, owner of TheFrankSinatra.com. I would like to thank for accepting to answer my questions and sparing your time. I also want to thank because I have been able to contact you directly, instead of via a manager. Your personally answering your fans is really great!

I would like to start with my questions now, here they are.

Have you felt “complete” after being the vocalist of Count Basie Orchestra, or do you consider those years as a starting point of a new era of your life which includes more things to accomplish?

At the time, I looked at it as being the beginning of a new phase. I had been singing around Detroit, for years. Joining the band was huge.

A lot of my career, I owe to Mr. Basie. There were of course, some disappointments, but, still worth it. Though I recorded with the band, I was not credited……On The Road.

I have 3 cds on Concord Records, along with several compilations. Records with Ray Anthony.Les Brown, and Joe Sample. I tour Russia, and Germany yearly.

Sinatra and you enjoy singing same songs, worked with Count Basie, and have a unique style. Apparently, you have many things in common with Sinatra in terms of music. Do you think you are walking a similar path like Sinatra walked in his long life? In what ways do you think you are similar to and differ from him?

As far as being similar is concerned, again thank you for your opinion. As a singer, we share a similar vocal range. Yes, we share repetoire, but he was the first to sing some of them. He also was fortunate to know a lot of the composers, personally. All the arrangers wanted to write for him. He had first choice.

His phrasing, and musicianship, are legendary. All of us owe him a debt of gratitude. As a singer with bands, he was able to hear and learn. Much like me, but the difference, I think, is that in his day, he had radio, movies, and of course, live show opportunities, that helped him.

I had lots of live shows, but the other avenues were not there. Jazz players loved him, because he was one of them. Like him, I too am a band guy. I was never given any billing. There was no effort to advance my career, past being the band’s singer. I made my rep., performing live. If you didn’t see me you didn’t know who I was.

What do you think about Frank Sinatra in general? How would you consider his affect in jazz, or music as a broader topic?

His effect on music, all consuming. Class in performance. His swingability. His approach to newer material, ie: pop tunes..beatles, jobim,. 

Do you have any memories related to Frank Sinatra that make you smile when you remember? Can be a show if you watched him live, or a chat you had with your friends, maybe William Basie, about him.

I was blessed to be at a recording session for, Duets 1. His singing of ‘Tears Out To Dry’, will be with me always. Thanks to Gregg Field, I was able to attend.

My last question is, on what are you focusing in your musical career these years? What are your plans for the future?

I have done many nusicals,J.C.Superstar, Chicago. Big River, and two short films. Real Gone Cat, and Fagland Tales. Lots of commercials, and voiceovers. I continue to persist, and pursue, mycareer. Would I like more work, yes. Would I record again, yes. I remain active, and available.

Thank you Dennis Rowland, for answering the questions frankly. I wish you accomplish more in your future career.

Dennis Rowland Singing

Dennis Rowland Singing

Well, I have some opinions about Dennis Rowland. I have listened many jazz singers in the past years, and after listening so great performances, it is not easy to name someone “good”, of course. But I really find Dennis Rowland “good”.  Not that he sings all songs very nice (in my opinion of course), but his one performance has shown me what he is really capable of. I have watched his live performances on YouTube, and “You Go To My Head” really hit me.

His voice is simply amazing. He has a wonderful tone, and is really affecting. I would like to include his performance in my post.

His performance has a very suitable arrangement and orchestration for this song, which helps him deliver the lyrics as intended. I would like to compare this version with Sinatra’s, and I must say I like this more. I think this song suits better to Dennis Rowland’s way of singing.

“Though I am certain, that this heart of mine, hasn’t a ghost of a chance, in this crazy romance, you go to my head”

Just listen to the part “in this crazy romance”, and see how he makes the song his own with 4 words. After this, orchestration takes the lead, which could be much better, and Dennis Rowland starts with the last part of the song, which I love most.

“The thrill of the thought that you might give a thought to my plea, casts a spell over me”
“So I say to myself, get a hold of yourself, can’t you see, this never can be

He completes these 2 well sang lines with a unique phrasing of “this never can be”, which tastes of a little Armstrong, more Rowland.

“You intoxicate my soul with your eyes”, again a beautifully sang line, again continues with,
“Though I am certain, that this heart of mine, hasn’t a ghost of a chance, in this crazy romance, you go, you go to my head” which is again very outstanding. This time, he sings “you go to my head” part much much better and ends the song awesome as it deserves, which surprised me.

It surprised me, because I never thought I would listen such a great version of this song. I always felt something missing for this song. It is a very great song, but it could be much better. Thanks to Mr. Dennis Rowland, “You Go To My Head” has become my favorite song for the last days, and has taken its place among my playlist.

My opinions, of course, are very open to discussion as everyone’s taste is different. But I think Dennis Rowland´s version is the best version of this song, much better than Sinatra’s.