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Tom Burlinson Performs 'Sinatra at the Sands'

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He did it his way
Tom Burlinson has long been associated with the music of Sinatra. "I'm not Sinatra" he told us "but I can sing in his style". What better way to showcase that talent than to take one of his iconic albums "Sinatra at the Sands" and recreate it, backed by the "All Stars Band" four times winners of the Best Big Band of the Year.

He began with "New York, New York" (not actually on the album, but who cares) and right from the start it was clear that we had an enthusiastic audience, looking forward to a treat.

And a treat it was. The All Stars Band was on top form throughout, tackling mostly Count Basie arrangements and sounding (dare one say it) as sharp and as vibrant as the touring Count Basie Band we saw at QPAC a little while back.

Tom Burlinson's voice at times was one superb instrument amongst many, weaving a dialogue with riffs from trumpeters, saxophones, clarinets, and a piano to die for.

The audience applauded at the start of old standards, such as 'Come Fly with Me', 'I've Got You Under My Skin', 'You Make Me Feel So Young', 'Fly Me to the Moon', and 'It was a Very Good Year

Gentle melancholy came, with a mellow "September of my Years", and something of a surprise, with an unusual Sammy Davis Junior version of "Get me to the Church on Time".

As in the album, the pace was varied. Highlights were when Burlinson sat beside the piano, and two wonderful musicians played with mellow melodies, such as "One for my baby and one more for the road".

Some of Sinatra's original introductions have dated, and some might not go down too well these days, coming from an era where womanising and boozing were regarded as badges of honour, rather than something of a character flaw. Burlinson used Sinatra's script selectively and well, helping to set the mood.

Some of the songs (not many) were unfamiliar, like the mellow "Few Last Words", sung before the interval. But most were old friends, like "My kind of town" for which band and singer gave their all, to send us away on a high.

We came back for kka bonus half hour of Sinatra favourites -- 'Strangers in the Night', 'That's Life', 'My Way' and, of course, 'New York, New York.

A highlight was when Tom said "This one wasn't sung by Sinatra" and began

Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by
You know how I feel
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good
I'm feeling good....

And, without doubt, after a wonderful evening, and a rapturous standing ovation, we were feeling good.

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When: 12 June 15
Where: QPAC Concert Hall
Cost: $69
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