Swing Out to perform at Norfolk Island Jazz Fest

There’s more to music impersonation than a white sequined jump-suit, black hair, sunglasses and the ability to swivel your hips. That realisation is the catalyst behind the formation of the New Zealand group Swing Out, one of the star attractions at the 2005 Norfolk Island Jazz Festival in December.

Swing Out vocalist Mark Jensen (45), in a search for something different in his chosen Jazz genre, quite a few years ago came to the conclusion that Elvis wasn’t the only music legend who could be copied.

Mark’s a fan of the music from the Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin era and the Rat Pack singers of the same period – so he thought Frank Sinatra would be a good subject to tackle.

Initial attempts at emulating the actions and stage presence of the enigmatic Sinatra were cause for much mirth among his colleagues so Mark decided to focus on the music instead.

Now he’s bringing his renowned Frank Sinatra jazz show to Norfolk Island’s popular jazz expo.

Swing Out currently is Mark Jensen on vocals with David Selfe on keyboards and Ambrose Splescia on wind instruments. The group formed in 1999 when Mark selected 20 of Ole Blue Eyes’ greatest songs for a one-man show in Auckland.

“As they say in showbiz, the rest is history – the show was a huge success and we took it on tour throughout the North Island. So it’s been the songs we’ve focused on ever since, ” Mark says.

A recording of one of the performances took the music wider and the performing arts and drama teacher hasn’t looked back.

Mark has added Sammy Davis Junior and Dean Martin songs to the repertoire as well as some fascinating and amusing anecdotes about Frank and his stellar career.

“I can’t tell you if Frank ever paid moolah to the mafia – but we do have some nice little insights into his colourful life, ” Mark says.

Selfe and Splescia have considerable international experience as solo and backing artists but the Norfolk Island gig is Mark’s first offshore venture.

Mark’s rich and vibrant vocals perfectly complement the playing of his backers. “Frank and the boys would love Swing Out, simply because the show has style with what we think is some pretty appealing interpretations of the Rat Pack classics, ” Mark says.

The Norfolk Island Jazz festival is a key element in the sub-tropical island’s arts and cultural programme and kicks off on December 5 running for five days.

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