Jan 20, 1953: Ol’ Blue Eyes Opens at Latin Quarter
Frank Sinatra opened for 10 days at the Latin Quarter on January 20, 1953; it was his only Boston nightclub engagement as a single. The Latin Quarter, on Winchester Street, was the top night spot in town, and just the place for Sinatra on his comeback trail. Backed by Larry Green’s band, Sinatra sang his current hit, “Birth of the Blues,” and songs from Porgy and Bess. Sinatra enjoyed his time in Boston, hanging around Storyville, where the Ellington Orchestra was playing, and filling a shift on WORL-AM radio, reading commercials and spinning records. It was during this engagement that Sinatra learned he’d play Maggio in the film From Here to Eternity; he won the acadamy award for best supporting actor for it.
Those ten days in January 1953 marked the start of a highwater period in Boston nightlife. Sinatra was at the Latin Quarter, the Ellington Orchestra was at Storyville, and Frankie Laine was at Blinstrub’s—and all three broke their club’s box office record. If the lines were too long at those clubs, you could catch Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge at the Hi-Hat, Vic Dickenson and Doc Cheatham at Mahogany Hall, Red Allen at the Savoy, the Soft Winds at the Darbury Room, Sabby Lewis at Sugar Hill, Bunny Campbell at Wally’s Paradise… They just don’t make months like that anymore. And here’s “Birth of the Blues:”