The billing at the Grand Avenue Bar of the Biltmore Hotel read "Frank Sinatra Jr. with Buddy Childers." Yet in his own words, the singer, who does not customarily appear in such an intimate jazz setting, insisted he was "just sitting in."
That was, in fact, the impression he gave during his well-attended two night stand. On Wednesday, the second evening, he waited for the band to play one or two instrumentals, and even during his own numbers allowed ample time for the soloists to take off freely.
Over the years Sinatra must have been the victim of more ill-informed, condescending criticism than any other singer on earth. Contrary to popular unwisdom, he does not now bear a strong resemblance, vocally or visually, to any other singer.
At 43 a somewhat introverted figure, conservatively dressed and wearing rimless glasses, he opened with an ill-advised parody of Dean Martin, singing "When You're Drinking" to the tune of "When You're Smiling." From that point on, however, things improved as he stayed with orthodox versions of such standard tunes as "You Go To My Head" and "Stella By Starlight." He sings good songs and sings them in tune, with occasional improvised melodic changes.