A New Frank Sinatra Tribute CD

CD Cover 495x490_72dpi copy

 When making an album with vocals and instrumentation, the quality of the performance is essential, along with the technical aspects like the mixing and mastering.  But another important element is the song selection.  And getting that right was a priority for a new Frank Sinatra Tribute CD called Some Special Favorites, by Frank Sinatra tribute performer Monty Aidem.

The new release, on Vintage Hat Records, features 15 songs carefully selected to represent a cross-section of Frank Sinatra’s recordings, from different chronological periods, to different Sinatra moods, covering the swinging Count Basie sound, to the soft vocals of the Antonio Carlos Jobim/Frank Sinatra collaboration.

In producing the CD, the objective was to re-create the Sinatra vocal style, complete with the Sinatra arrangements.  Many of the songs included are songs that were performed in concert by F.S. like You Make Me Feel So Young, I Won’t Dance, and The Best Is Yet To Come.  And some of the other selections were featured on Sinatra TV specials, like The Girl From Ipanema, Baubles,  Bangles and Beads, and Love’s Been Good To Me, not to mention Paul Anka’s dramatic Let Me Try Again, performed by Mr. S. during his Madison Square Garden concert and TV special known as The Main Event.  And the song was also featured on the TV special Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back.

Also included in this collection is the tribute performer’s favorite Sinatra song, a lesser-known ballad called I Had The Craziest Dream.  The full list of tracks, and samples of each one are available at the Frank Sinatra impersonator Monty Aidem’s website, at his Frank Sinatra Tribute CD page

Published in: on July 7, 2014 at 2:17 PM  Comments Off on A New Frank Sinatra Tribute CD  
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Frank Sinatra Impersonator Blog - Jilly Rizzo

Jilly Rizzo

Some people called him Frank Sinatra’s bodyguard, some people called him Frank’s right-hand man, and some said he was Ol’ Blue Eyes’ best friend.  They were all probably right about a man named Jilly Rizzo, who traveled the world with Frank and knew him better than almost anybody did.

Born Ermenigildo Rizzo on May 6th, 1917, Jilly was only a year and a half younger than Frank Sinatra and was seen at Frank’s side constantly over the years.  In fact, you’ll spot Jilly prominently at the beginning of Frank’s classic concert at Madison Square Garden called The Main Event, also produced as a TV special featuring a poetic introduction delivered by sportscasting legend Howard Cosell.

Originally, Jilly was a restaurant owner and the proprietor of Jilly’s Saloon in New York, which Frank and pals frequented.  Jilly’s establishment is memorialized in at least two Sinatra songs including the duet of Me And My Shadow with  Sammy Davis Jr., in which Frank sings the special lyrics “We’ll wind up at Jilly’s right after Toots Shor”.  And in the song Star, Frank sings “If they’ve got a drink with her name in Jilly’s bar, the chances are the lady’s a star”.

Jilly appeared several times on the TV series Laugh-In produced by longtime Sinatra friend George Schlatter, and on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast of Frank.  And there were roles in several Sinatra films, including The Manchurian Candidate, Tony Rome and The Detective, plus Cannonball Run II.  And Jilly even had roles in some unrelated projects like the films Eternity and The Pick-up Artist, and TV’s Kojak starring Telly Savalas.

It all came to an end in 1992, when Jilly suffered an untimely death as his car was struck by a drunk driver in Rancho Mirage CA, killing Jilly on his 75th birthday.  Frank was understandably devastated by this event, which took away his longtime companion and confidant six years before Frank himself passed away in 1998. 

There may not be a Jilly Rizzo impersonator to go with the Frank Sinatra impersonators of today, but regardless, Jilly’s legacy lives on as a central member of Frank Sinatra’s inner circle.

Sinatra Impersonator - Jilly Rizzo, Frank, and Jackie O.

Jilly Rizzo, Frank Sinatra and Jacqueline Onassis in 1969

Published in: on May 21, 2013 at 7:55 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Frank Sinatra on the radio: Sirius or Pandora?

Frank Sinatra recording

An answer to the above question is offered by a Frank Sinatra tribute performer, or Frank Sinatra Impersonator in Los Angeles

Frank Sinatra is available on the radio primarily via either Sirius XM satellite or Pandora internet radio, and sampling both reveals some differences.  On Sirius, you must have a paid subscription, although many new cars come with free trial periods that vary in length.  On Sirius, you’ll find an existing channel, known as Siriusly Sinatra.  Pandora, on the other hand, is a free service via the internet and through an app for your smart phone, but as a result, there are occasional commercials within the program, both in the form of audio and graphics on your screen.  But theyre pretty infrequent and tolerable.  On Pandora, you create your Sinatra channel by selecting Frank Sinatra as your artist of choice, and a channel is initiated for you.

The Sinatra channels on both services feature primarily Frank Sinatra of course, along with other compatible artists like Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr. and many others.

Content-wise, I found some significant differences definitely exist between the two services when it comes to listening to a Frank Sinatra radio tribute.

The Sirius Sinatra channel seems to feature much more obscure Sinatra recordings, and in many cases, questionable choices in my opinion, like Mrs. Robinson and Bad Bad Leroy Brown, plus a preponderance of many very old and little known recordings that I didn’t find memorable, especially when drawn from the vast body of outstanding work recorded by F.S.   As well, the other artist choices weren’t pleasing to me, most notably when they were singing cover versions of Sinatra tunes that I would have preferred to hear by Frank.

On Pandora however, my Sinatra channel does a very good job of offering great Sinatra recordings, both the familiar and the slightly less known, surrounded by recordings by other artists, showcasing their best work.  And it seems to me that the Sinatra fan will hear a higher percentage of Sinatra on Pandora than on Sirius.  Further, on Pandora, the music is continuous without a host, whereas Sirius will sometimes feature a host offering commentary, as in one case in which I recall hearing an actress with virtually no connection to Frank, who was making innacurate statements.  Also, Pandora has a great interactive feature in which you can rate and skip songs during a listening session, allowing you to exert some influence over your experience. 

For the numerous and significant reasons listed above, between Sirius XM Satellite and Pandora, Pandora is my choice hands down when it comes to listening to Frank Sinatra on the radio.

(Article by Monty Aidem, performer of a Las Vegas stye Frank Sinatra Tribute also seen frequently in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and around the U.S.)


Published in: on December 5, 2012 at 2:44 PM  Comments Off on Frank Sinatra on the radio: Sirius or Pandora?  
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A Frank Sinatra Tribute in Bulgaria

Sofia Bulgaria was the setting for the first ever A to JazZ Festival celebrating American jazz which took place in the scenic Doctor’s Garden, an outdoor park in the heart of this historic Eastern European capital.  For three days, enthusiastic audiences were entertained with music performances featuring a collection of talent from Bulgaria and the U.S.  Concluding the three day event was a Frank Sinatra tribute performed by Monty Aidem of Los Angeles, a Frank Sinatra tribute artist, or “Frank Sinatra Impersonator“, and a multi-credited TV writer who actually wrote for Frank Sinatra on several occasions.  He was supported by Bulgaria’s outstanding big band, The Brass Association, under the direction of Angel Zaberski.  Zaberski is a highly regarded composer, conductor, jazz pianist and recording artist; one of Bulgaria’s finest.

Ambassador James Warlick

Lending support and encouragement to the three day cultural exchange was the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, James B. Warlick, a supporter of the arts as well as a positive influence toward the good relations between the United States and Bulgaria, where he is very popular.

Performing the Frank Sinatra tribute show, Monty Aidem offered 14 of Sinatra’s most popular titles, including Come Fly With Me, I’ve Got The World On A String, and Fly Me To The Moon, among others.  Some of the best acknowledgement came for the internationally acclaimed songs Strangers In The Night, My Way, and New York, New York.  Aidem even sang My Way on Bulgaria’s leading TV talk show, Slavi’s Show, hosted by Bulgaria’s popular TV personality Slavi Trifonov.  Since English is spoken by many Bulgarian residents, Aidem was even able to tell some jokes in English that were widely understood by the audience, eliciting laughs just as those jokes do in America.

Aidem was impressed with the Bulgarian orchestra, who played the charts flawlessly and with great style, following the lead of conductor Angel Zaberski, whose feel for the music is so instinctive it would most likely have impressed Sinatra himself.  But credit for the festival’s success must go to its creator and chief executive Peter Dimitrov, a man with a vision, plus the plans and determination to make his vision a reality, which he did with great results, as both participants and visitors to the festival would no doubt agree.

At the studios of Darik Radio Bulgaria with (L.to R.) radio host Niki Kanchev, the Jazz festival's Diana Todorova, Monty Aidem, and festival creator Peter Dimitrov, who's also a musician and radio host.

Published in: on July 30, 2011 at 1:41 PM  Comments Off on A Frank Sinatra Tribute in Bulgaria