Nat King Cole was a jazz vocalist with a velvety smooth voice who recorded more than 100 hit songs over a roughly four-decade career. The talented piano player also performed on Broadway, acted in films, and broke racial barriers as the first African American man to host a television series in the United States.

And equally important for this celebration, he was born on March 17, 1919.

Flushing Town Hall celebrates this legend’s 100th birthday with Unforgettable: The Magic of Nat King Cole on Friday, March 15, at 8 p.m.

General admission is $25, but QNS readers can get 20 percent discounts with the promo code “QTC20.” (Teenagers can attend for free as part of an ongoing promotion at Flushing Town Hall.)

As Cole died in 1965, Sachal Vasandani will star in this tribute. Also in possession of a velvety smooth voice and good looks, this Chicago native has a Cole-like stage presence and comparable crooning ability. And just like the Birthday Boy, he has the uncanny ability to interpret and breathe life into lyrics while improvising.

Vasandani, who’s thoroughly rooted in jazz, but would be comfortable fronting a big band, also has years of experience as a Cole imitator. He specializes in such songs as “Unforgettable,” “Nature Boy,” and “Smile.”

For the piano, Shai Maestro, an Israeli virtuoso, will do the honors on Friday. Reuben Rogers, a Virgin Islands native with experience in calypso, gospel, and reggae, will play bass, and Obed Calvaire, who is of Haitian extraction, will take care of the percussion.

Vasandani is also enjoying a career as himself. Last fall, he released “Shadow Train” on GSI Records. His other productions are “Slow Motion Miracles” (2015), “Hi-Fly” (2011), “We Move” (2009), and “Eyes Wide Open” (2007). Plus, he’s an adjunct professor at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia.

Flushing Town Hall is located at 137-35 Northern Blvd. It’s about five blocks north of the 7 train’s Main Street station. There is on-street parking.

Images: Sachal Vasandani


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