Chicago Jazz Orchestra Presents A CJO SALUTE TO SINATRA AT THE SANDS” – A Big Band Festive Delight!

Formal gowns and dapper suits filled the marble lobby as we prepared to hear The Chicago Jazz Orchestra (CJO) featuring Chicago-based Jazz vocalist Paul Marinaro.  We filled into Chicago’s historic Studebaker Theatre, housed in The Fine Arts Building – an extravagant pairing with another piece of American performance art history. The CJO Salute to Sinatra at the Sands premiered as a one-night-only event that took place the night of Saturday, May 12th. “The Sands” refers to the famous Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, where Sinatra performed his classics and lesser-known songs. CJO is led by Artistic Director, Jeff Lindberg.

Chicago Jazz Orchestra Recreates a Historic Sinatra Experience

From the time Marinaro entered the stage, applause filled the theatre. It seems this collaboration was a rare and anticipated event! We listened as CJO led Marinaro’s stories of his connection to Sinatra’s music – from the inevitable repertoire featuring his work as a male jazz vocalist, to fond memories of listening to Sinatra albums in entirety with his father.

Soon enough we were serenaded as heads swayed to classics, most notably to this Jazz enthusiast,  I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Fly Me to the Moon, and You Make Me Feel So Young.  

The vocals weren’t the only contributors to the revamping of our Sinatra Experience.  On trumpets were Justin Woodward, Victor Garcia, Doug Scharf, and Art Davis. Trombones were played by Steve Duncan, Tom Garling, Luke Malewicz, and Michael Young. Guitar was played by Michael Petterson and Dan Trudell accompanied on piano. The saxophone ensemble included, John Wojciechwski, Scott Burns, Eric Schneider, Jerry DiMuzio, and an actual former member of Sinatra’s ensemble, Bill Overton. It’s safe to say we were in the presence of musical expertise!

We closed out appropriately with Sinatra’s My Kind of Town and we were welcomed to interact with Marinaro and CJO post-performance.

Though this event was a one-off experience, fortunately there are ample opportunities to see both CJO and Paul Marinaro separately, both of which this reporter would highly recommend looking into!


To find out more about the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, please visit the CJO website.

To learn more about Paul Marinaro, please visit the Paul Marinaro website.

Photos courtesy of Chicago Jazz Orchestra


Brittany Harlin
Choreographer Brittany Harlin

About the Author: 

Brittany Harlin is the founding artistic director of Chicago Urban Dance Collective and 2017 recipient of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award. Her influences are Hip Hop and Modern Dance Pioneers. In addition to company work, her dancing and choreography has been featured at Ragdale Foundation, Links Hall, Elastic Arts, Aragon Ballroom, DRAMA Duo Music Productions, Black Ensemble Theatre, and Hip Hop International.

Brittany’s focus is Hip Hop, Modern, Funk Styles, Waacking, and House, combined with growing knowledge of somatics and kinesiology, all through the concert dance lens. Her goal is to bring dance education to a place of complete body awareness, spiritual expression, and connection. Brittany hopes to establish her practice in expressive therapy, creating opportunities, and inclusiveness.

Her teaching artist pedagogy & philosophy are weighted in respecting the integrity of the vernacular movement, by sharing what she’s been taught from respected community members - and stopping exactly there. She relates those concepts to personal natural movement, and the energy of the dancers she’s working with. Her goal is to create solidarity between diverse backgrounds, conducive to the essence and intention of The Hip Hop Socio-Political Movement. Harlin’s passion in dance extends to her community as she has launched her most recent endeavor of teaching professionalism and industry standards to aspiring professional dancers.

When Brittany isn’t dancing, she is supplementing her work with her passions for poetry and songwriting. She’s been referred to as a fawn and a hippie on multiple, separate occasions.

Click here to read more Picture this Post stories by Brittany Harlin.

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