The Chick Sings Frank: A Tribute to Sinatra

[This updated review originally appeared in July, 2011.]

Anyone who enjoys the Sinatra canon will appreciate the approach taken by Denver's first lady of song, Lannie Garrett, in this revival of her newest show. Using biographic details as a springboard, Garrett sings a compelling mix that speaks to the ups and downs of Old Blue Eye's storied career.

Lannie Garrett
"Luck Be A Lady"
Lannie Garrett
Garrett's ability to sell a song resonates as she explains, for example, Frank's passion for Ava Gardner and then delivers a vibrant "I've Got You Under My Skin," with a nice bass riff from Kenny Walker, and "One For My Baby," that explores the bluesy depths.

The Chairman of the Board was a study in contrasts—generous, loyal, and romantic, yet, especially in his cups, bullying and morose. Not so much different than many of us, which explains his universal appeal. Of course, as the vehicle for The Voice (at least on the male side; Ella takes the cake!), and as a co-creator with some of the best arrangers in the business, the package is unassailable. And don't forget that Frank said he wouldn't play Vegas unless it was to an integrated audience, which happened a big way.

Did I mention that Sinatra won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Maggio in "From Here to Eternity"? Garrett notes the Academy Award represented a big turn-around for Frank's career, before she kicks into a bouncy, Dixieland-scented rendition of "Just in Time," with a hot alto sax from Bob Rebholtz.

Justin Adams' arrangements highlight a vast array of styles and his phrasing on the 88's, scintillating. Nice work as well from Mike Abbott on guitar and Todd Reid on drums.

Lannie's famous hat collection features a couple of newcomers, including a sparkling fedora and a marvelous pair of dice, designed by her favorite costume designer, Kevin Copenhaver, from the Denver Center Theatre Company.

On February 25, 1995, a little more than 3 years before he passed away, Frank closed his last performance, a private affair for 1200 at the famous celebrity golf tournament and fundraiser named after him, with "The Best Is Yet To Come," which gets a spirited treatment from Garrett and her Errand Boys of Rhythm, before she closes with "That's Life!"—the last of 21 hits for the evening.

Lannie Garrett's The Chick Sings Frank: A Tribute to Sinatra opens on November 12th and continues Saturdays, November 19th and 26th, and Friday, November 25th at 8pm. 303-293-0075.

Bob Bows


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