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Uptown Big Band performance centers on Sinatra

American swooner “Ol Blue Eyes” is the focus of Uptown Big Band’s next concert at the Mountain Arts Community Center. Joining Frank Sinatra in the concert spotlight is Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie. The performance is set for Saturday, March 2 from 7-9 p.m.

“If you enjoy this type of music it’s going to be a great show,” said band director and trumpeter Dan Dorrill. “Even if you’re not familiar with big band music you’ll certainly enjoy the style.”

The band will be playing a few songs from Sinatra’s 1966 live album “Sinatra at the Sands,” recorded at Las Vegas’ Sands Hotel and Casino, a popular haunt for Sinatra and the rest of the “Rat Pack.”

“Most of the type of music we play is swing,” said Dorrill, adding that the MACC has space for attendees to dance. “We call ourselves a modern big band; we play a lot of recent standards.”

Each of his group’s show at the MACC, where the band has played three times a year for the past three years, is centered on a certain theme or performer. The last concert there focused on American singer-songwriter and lyricist Johnny Mercer.

Together for 20 years, Uptown started out as a club band for a local corporation and is now one of the oldest bands in Chattanooga, said Dorrill. Like all big bands, Uptown comprises four trumpeters, four trombonists, five saxophonists and a rhythm section. Several members are professional musicians and the rest are semi-professional, he said.

The band consists entirely of local residents, three of whom are from Signal Mountain, including Dorrill, Michael Smith and Al Kiser.

“We do it for the fun of it, plus we just really enjoy what we do,” said Dorrill.

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