IT'S not every day that you would have got the late great singer Frank Sinatra to sing in your school.

But that was exactly what happened when Jack Jones' fellow high school pupil and daughter of Frank, Nancy, invited her father in to perform, writes Joby Mullens.

The memorable moment left such an impression on Jack that it helped shape his career choice and has led him to enjoy massive artistic success in his own right.

And the talented crooner has come a long-way since his schooldays, having now notched up more than 50 albums, two Grammy Awards and consistently enjoying sold-out world tours.

Jack is famous for his wit, sensitivity and vocal power which keeps audiences coming back for more and - years after the school visit - it led none other than Sinatra himself to proclaim him "one of the major singers of our time."

And people will be able to join fans of the star to see what the fuss is all about when he comes to Malvern's Forum Theatre on Wednesday, February 9, for a concert as part of a mammoth UK tour.

The singer will be joined by his 20-piece orchestra and the set-list is expected to include classics from his career such as The Race Is On, Call Me Irresponsible, and What I Did For Love.

Jack was born the son of singer and movie star Allan Jones and elegant 1930s actress Irene Harvey, who would have been proud of the diversity and breadth of his talent.

His singing debut was a stint as part of his father's act at the Thunderbird Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas when he was just 19 years old.

He went out on his own three weeks later, working odd jobs to support himself while pursuing his singing career.

It was while performing at Facks, a club in San Francisco, that he was discovered by Pete King, a producer for Kapp records, who quickly signed him.

As his musical career began taking shape, he developed an appreciation for well-constructed songs with emotional appeal, which led him to record tunes by some of the greatest balladeers of all time, including Sammy Cahn, Jimmy van Heusen and Cole Porter.

In addition to a successful musical career, the star has also graced the silver screen in various film roles as well as parts in television.

He has also made guest performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Centre and the White House and performed and later recorded popular theme songs for film and television Love with a Proper Stranger, The Love Boat.

And in his latest musical release, Jack Jones Paints a Tribute To Tony Bennett, he pays homage to a friend and American icon.

Jack counts Bennett among those vocalists who most influenced his style and the collection features some of his well-known tunes. It has since been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance.

The concert in Malvern starts at 8pm. Tickets are £25 and £28.50 and are available from the box office on 01684 892277 or

Acclaimed musicians at Marr's

NOT one but two acclaimed musicians will be taking to the stage in Worcester this weekend at the city's Marr's Bar.

Guitarist, singer and producer Kevin Dempsey will be joined by classically-trained violinist Joe Broughton for the concert at the venue - in Pierpoint Street - at 8pm on Sunday.

The duo - who have been playing together since 2000 - have very different backgrounds but came together through the common thread of music.

Kevin has extensive experience in the music business, having worked with everyone from Percy Sledge to Dando Shaft and The Marvelettes to Alice Coltrane.

He has also played with the band Whippersnapper - whose line-up also included Dave Swarbrick, Chris Leslie and Martin Jenkins - touring the world with them.

Meanwhile Joe's style owes much to folk, jazz and blues. Throughout his childhood up to the present day he has been performing with his brother Ben and he is now a member of the legendary Albion Band.

Between 1994 and 1997 he studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he now teaches folk music and composition.

Tickets for Sunday's gig are £6 in advance or £7 on the door.

Blues and rock blend

TOP musician Ian Parker will be bringing his blend of blues and rock to Worcester this weekend with a gig at the city's Marr's Bar.

Ian's ever-expanding itinerary now includes many of the major European festivals as well as regular dates at notable venues such as the internationally renowned Ronnie Scott's and on Germany's leading music TV show, Rockpalast.

It was while serving his apprenticeship on the European blues/rock circuit that he was noticed by none other than Eric Clapton, and opened a show for the guitar legend in London in December 2002 and then again in 2003.

He can be caught at 8pm tomorrow night at the Marr's Bar, in Pierpoint Street. Tickets are £6 in advance or £8 on the door.

Bootis alive and singing

THE funk, soul and jazz sound of the band Bootis is set to come to Worcester as they play the city's Marr's Bar next week.

The band used to comprise of Andreya Triana on vocals and a collective of musicians who would swap and change their instruments throughout performances.

However, the members all went their separate ways and started other projects, including Andreya, who moved up north.

While studying at Leeds College of Music she met new band members Chris Hargreaves on bass, Damien Ramsurn on Fender Rhodes and Jamie Robertson on drums and so started the new line- up, keeping Bootis alive.

They play the Marr's Bar on Friday, February 4.

The sound of Low to be unleashed

AMERICAN rock trio Low will be unleashing their new sound on an unsuspecting audience next month with a string of UK dates.

The Minnesota band - who comprise Mimi Parker on drums and vocals, Zak Sally on bass and Alan Sparhawk on guitar and vocals - have turned away from their long-established mellow folk-influenced sound to produce an album of pop songs with their latest album The Great Destroyer.

The album is their seventh release over a 10-year period, which has seen them progress from their reverb-drenched debut album I Could Live In Hope.

Their latest single California is a bright and breezy tune and draws comparisons with Byrds material.

Fans can catch them at Wolverhampton's Wulfrun Hall on Saturday, February 19. Tickets are £14 and are available by calling the box office on 01902 552121.