In today’s environment of instant celebrity and superstar burnout, it’s hard to fathom the full extent of Frank Sinatra’s fifty-plus-year career and the impact it had on generations of people across the world. But it’s no surprise that my friends and I found ourselves at Ken Walters’ 16th Annual “Celebrate Sinatra” event in Ybor City. We were dressed to the nines and I, of course, was wearing a hat!
We were transported in time to the Cal Neva Resort and Casino on the shores of Lake Tahoe, once part-owned by Sinatra. We quickly snagged our Signature Martinis, and, as we walked into the ballroom, the dynamic sounds of Tom Tiratto’s 17 piece Big Band Orchestra swept across the room.
Wanting to preserve a memory, Shirley, Lucy, myself and Lori posed for a picture on the main floor of our venue, The Cuban Club. However, I found myself without cash and had to resort to borrowing $10.00 from our gracious host, Ken Walters. Thanks Ken. And the check really is in the mail!
In the creation of the album, “It Might As Well Be Swing” in 1964, Sinatra included what would be some of his best recordings, including “Fly Me To The Moon” and “The Best Is Yet To Come”. Tom Triatto sang these songs beautifully. And Of course the floor was filled with exuberant dancing couples.
Frank is quoted as saying: “Throughout the years on the record dates I’ve done, I’ve never been comfortable in a separate room away from the orchestra ….I feel I need the support of the sound of the orchestra in the room.” Frank had Count Basie, however I must say that our orchestra this evening was impressive.
It’s always fun to mingle and chat with other guests, especially when the women are dressed in lovely gowns and the men in Frank’s signature look: a Tuxedo and a crisp, white shirt with French cuffs. Definitely, my kind of party. It’s even more exciting for me when I discover other guests wearing hats. Tonight it was a bonanza – three men wearing fedoras. They graciously posed for a picture looking very dapper indeed.
I was thrilled to be with my new friend Lori London who was visiting from Chicago. Lori was invited to sing with the orchestra tonight and she was fantastic. Lori is an amazingly gifted artist. She can sing Jazz, Broadway, Country and Operatic music. She has been on the radio and in motion pictures and her successful concert tours are widely attended. She is sweet and funny and I look forward to seeing her again.
While we didn’t spend much time in the Copa Room, it was filled with Rhumba, Cha Cha, Merengue and Mambo movements as couples danced to Ignacio Marin’s Latin Lovers. The bar was bustling, hors d’oerves were being served table-side and there was vintage 1940’s “cigarette girl” selling premium cigars. This was a well thought out party!
Seven decades have passed since Las Vegas first presented its entertainment. Many performers have come and gone, but few of those showmen left legacies that no number of passing years can erase. One such man, whether referred to as “The Voice”, “The Chairman” or “Ol’ Blue Eyes”, is a man from humble beginnings in Hoboken, New, Jersey: the one and only Francis Albert Sinatra. He was born on December 12, 1915. And I would have to say – “It Was Very Good Year”!