March 7, 2016 by Bruce Fessier for The Desert Sun

Publicity photoThe Coachella Valley has been blessed this year with amazing tributes to Frank Sinatra. His granddaughter, A.J. Lambert, presented a concert of music inspired by Sinatra. Marilyn Maye reinvented Sinatra’s music. The Mark Masters Ensemble jazzed it up. Steve Lawrence told his own story through his selection of Sinatra songs…

On Friday, Jack Jones told his own story, reinvented Sinatra’s music and jazzed it up at the McCallum. Then, when he was done, he performed a set of his own music, which was like getting a second show at a time when most concerts are wrapping up.

People I talked to largely preferred the second half, which was finely honed with hits like “Wives and Lovers,” “Call Me Irresponsible” and his medley from “Man of La Mancha,” which he performed in his 60s in a national touring production. He was in superb voice – miraculous considering he was fighting a viral infection – and the set was as uplifting as it was sonically remarkable.

But the first half combined his once-in-a-generation voice with the interpretive skills he has developed with maturity. He talked about being a depressed kid who listened to Sinatra’s historic, “For Only the Lonely” LP, but he had to have lived those songs to deliver them with the honesty he brought to this show. “For Once In My Life” was a fluff piece when Stevie Wonder sang it, but Jones brought a sense of desperation beyond what even Sinatra had to offer. He elevated “I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Try” from “Only the Lonely” to a level of saloon songs on par with the album’s title song and “Angel Eyes.”

You can’t beat the Sinatra charts Lawrence used, but Patrick Williams’ arrangements, conducted by Williams, were of Don Costa quality while introducing new emotional elements to the songs. “Teach Me Tonight” supported and lifted Jones to new heights. Williams’ idea to turn “It Was A Very Good Year” into Sinatra’s life story (“When he was 17…”) worked beautifully as a multi-media presentation.

If Jones recorded this show from the soundboard, it will be a collector’s item…